Fractures are broken bones. If you have a complete or partial fracture, you have a broken bone. A bone can break completely or partially in any number of ways (crosswise, lengthwise, in the middle).
Fractures can occur in a variety of ways, but there are three common causes:
Trauma . For example, a fall, an accident or a car accident can lead to a fracture.
Osteoporosis can also contribute to fractures. Osteoporosis is a bone disease that leads to "thinning" of the bone. The bones become brittle and fragile.
Overuse sometimes leads to stress fractures. These are common in athletes and recruits.
Usually, you know right away if you have a broken bone. You may hear a cracking or cracking sound. The area around the fracture will be painful and swollen. One limb may be deformed, or part of the bone may pierce the skin. Doctors usually use x-rays to check the diagnosis. Stress fractures are more difficult to detect because they may not show up immediately on an x-ray however, there may be pain, redness and mild swelling.
Closed or simple fracture. The bone is broken, but the skin is not injured.
Open or complex fracture. The skin can be pierced by the bone or by a blow that tears the skin during the injury. The bone may or may not be visible in the wound.
Transverse fracture. The fracture is perpendicular to the long axis of the bone.
"Greenstick" fracture. Fracture on one side of the bone, causing a flexion on the other side.
Comminuted fracture. A fracture that leads to three or more bone fragments.
As soon as a fracture occurs, the body acts to protect the injured area, forming a protective blood clot in which first fibrous and then bone tissue (new bone) is formed. The new "threads" of bone cells begin to grow on both sides of the fracture line. These threads grow towards each other until the fracture closes.
Doctors use plaster casts, splints, nails, plates with screws, wires or other devices to keep a fracture in place during fracture healing. External fixation methods include plaster or fiberglass dressings, splints, and other devices. Internal fixation methods hold the broken pieces of bone in place with metal plates, intramedullary nails with screws and other devices until it unites.
Fractures take several weeks to several months to heal, depending on the extent of the injury, the patient's age, the type and part of the broken bone, and how well you follow your doctor's advice. The pain usually stops long before the fracture is solid enough to withstand the pressures of normal activity. Even after your cast or splint is removed, you may need to continue to protect the limb with reduced activity until the bone is strong enough to withstand normal activity loads. Usually, by the time the fracture healing is complete, the muscles atrophy because they have not been used. Even your joints can become "stiff" from not using them. You will need a recovery period that includes exercise and gradually increasing activity before you reach a level of function similar to that before your injury.