The human bones can bear some weight but if the external force that is applied to it is too much, it will likely crack or break. This is called broken bones fracture. Aside from the bone, the tissues surrounding it might also be broken. Sometimes, a break may also dislocate a bone.
Causes of Bone Fractures
Fractures are more commonly found in children more so than in adults. Among most common causes of fractured bones are:
• car accidents which cause the worst kind of fractures
• direct blow to the bones
• sport injuries
• traumatic and forceful movements
• tumors in the bone
Symptoms of Broken Bone Fracture
Even without actually consulting a doctor as yet, it is important to detect if the injury has caused some fractures. The symptoms would usually include:
• Intense pain
• Tingling and numbness
• Swelling or bleeding
• Dislocated limb or joint
• Limited mobility
Classification of Broken Bone Fracture
• Simple vs. compound fractures. A simple fracture is when a bone is broken into two pieces and no fragment has pierced the skin. The area can be recognized by its swelling or bruising. Compound fracture, on the other hand, is when a bone is not simply broken into two or more pieces but that its fragments pierced the surrounding skin. This is why there is always a wound involved in compound fractures which may be a cause for infection.
• Complete vs. incomplete fractures. A complete fracture is when the bone is completely broken. An incomplete fracture is when the break occurs only to a part of the bone.
• Single vs. multiple fractures. The type of fracture is identified by the number of breaks in the bone.
There are many other classifications of fractures too but these are the most commonly used ways of classifying them.
Treatment of Fracture
There is one rule in treating bone fractures – to put back all those broken bones and fragments into their usual place and to keep them from moving out of those normal places. A properly healed bone should have its ends knitted back together with the new bone formed in place of those parts which were broken. The treatment method for the bone fracture should be determined by these factors:
• Open or closed fractures
• Extent of the break
• The type of bone that was broken
There are also different kinds of treatment which are available for those who suffer from broken bones fracture.
• Cast immobilization. Plaster or fiberglass is usually used for immobilization. This is effective since it is found out that some bones can immediately heal once they are already correctly positioned back to their usual places.
• Brace or functional cast. This allows more mobility for the joints than the cast. However, this is only applicable for some fractures.
• Traction. This is mainly used for aligning the bones by a slight tugging action. This tugging action brought about by a metal pin or skin tapes connected through a bone. It is usually used as preliminary treatment.
• Internal fixation and open reduction. This should only be performed by an orthopedist. The broken bones will be repositioned first into normal alignment. To do this, plates and screws need to hold the bones together but they are only connected to the surface of the bones. Rods can also be inserted into the bones through the marrow space. This type of surgery is effective at realigning the bones exactly to where they originally were. However, surgery is usually the last solution considered by most orthopedists due to possible complications and infections. The orthopedist will only most likely recommend this when there is no other way to allow the bones back to function normally.
• External function. Plates and screws are also used but they are placed above and below the fractured bones. Again, repositioning of the broken fragments is also done. Metal bars outside the skin are used to hold those pins and screws together. Thus, they function to stabilize the fragments in place so that they can heal completely. The device can be removed anyway after the prescribed period of time when the bones have already grown new bones to get them connected once more. The external device in here consists of the metal bars that are used to hold all those screws together.
When to Call for Emergency Help
After first aid is applied, the person should be brought to the doctor to address the fracture. However, there are certain factors that would require emergency help.
• When there is continuous heavy bleeding
• When the person is not breathing, immobile or unresponsive
• When even the lightest pressure or movement causes pain
• When the bone has protruded
• When the possible broken bone has happened to the head, neck or back
• When the extremities of the broken areas are numb or bluish
• When the possible broken bone happens to the hip, upper leg or pelvis