Some people say that it is better to have a fractured bone than to have a broken bone because broken bones means surgery while fractured bones would only require casting. Actually what they do not know is that both terms have the same meaning in the eyes of an orthopedist. If we can classify fractures, there can be minor fractures which do not need any splinting or brace while there are really severe fractures that require the use of metal wires, pins and bone plates just to assemble the bone back.
This is why there is the classification of fractures so that doctors would know what kind of treatment they could use to treat the patients of their injuries. There are also the needs to consider factors so that the proper treatments can be expected. Some of the major considerations in treating bone fractures are the age of the patient, the location of the fractures, alignment of the bones, and the articular involvement if the fracture is an open or closed fracture. Here, we will discuss the different classification of fractures, how our doctors can deal with them and how to prevent them from disabling us.
When doctors talk about fractures in orthopedic medicine they can say them by their technical terms because some of them were named after the doctors who have discovered these fracture conditions. But when they discuss these with us they say it simply by the following terms.
Broadly speaking there are three fracture conditions and these are:
• Closed simple fractures. These are fractures wherein the skin is still intact although the bones inside are already damaged.
• Open fractures. The bone is already protruding from the skin and this is a serious case of bone fracture.
• Compression fracture. This usually occurs in the spinal column or the vertebrae. One of the major causes is osteoporosis and either one or two or more of the vertebras have collapsed.
The more accurate types of fractures are:
• Complete fractures. The bones separate completely due to fracture.
• Incomplete fractures. Fragments are somewhat joined but are displaced from original position.
• Linear fractures. Bone fractures aligned to the length of the bones.
• Transverse fractures. Fractures at the right angle to the bone’s length.
• Oblique fracture. The bones are fractured diagonally along the length of the bones.
• Spiral fractures. Twisted bone fractures.
• Compacted fracture. When two bones were forcefully bound together.
• Holstein-Lewis fracture. A fracture that occurred at the distal third of the upper arm bone, which has entrapped a radial nerve.
Any fracture of the bone must be diagnosed by a doctor so that he will know the extent of the damage. He will take the history of the injury and will ask the patient how the injury occurred, when and where it has occurred. He will also ask the patient if any part of the body is in pain other than the main injury. He will need complete information so that he can coordinate the cause of the fracture to any possible complications. X-rays are the common procedures to identify the real condition of the bone while the doctor could also request the patient to undergo a CT scan or an MRI if there are no fractures as shown by the x-ray but symptoms of a fracture occurs.
The most common causes of bone fractures include:
• Injuries from high impact sports
• Forceful movements and traumatic blows
• Overuse of legs, hands or arms that causes bone stress
• Falls from heights
• Tumors growing near the bone that could bring about bone compression
• Osteoporosis and other bone debilitating conditions
• Bruising, swelling or bleeding with or without bone protrusion
• Out of shape limb or joint
• Severe pain on the injured part
• Numbness and tingling sensation which signifies nerve damage
• Inability of the person to move the fractured part
• Inability to walk when the leg part or foot is fractured
Pain management is a standard procedure for any fracture because definitely any fracture could cause minor to severe pain. But the general procedures in treating bones so that they can be placed back in their normal positions are:
• Casting. The bones will be manipulated through traction and when returned into to their proper position, the limb will be put in a plaster or fiberglass cast to prevent the bone from moving. The cast will be removed after few weeks or months when the bone has healed.
• External fixation. When severe fractures happen and displace the bones, surgery is needed to install wires and pins to set the bones together again. These metals will have their rings or bars outside the skin so that the tension inside can be adjusted. When the bones are completely healed, the metals will be removed from the bones.
• Internal fixation. This also requires surgical procedure and it will be metal rods, screws, or wires that will be inserted in the bones to keep the fragments together.
• Rehabilitation for fractures especially after the cast or metals are removed is very necessary because the bones and the muscles must be strengthened and be functional again. Physical therapy is needed on this procedure.
Some of the main causes of limb and spine injuries come from sports that are considered high impact sports so it is better to wear protective gears while involving yourself with your favorite past time. At home, you must create a safer place where you can move around without things getting in your way which might cause you to fall. Also teach children to be careful when they play. Car and motorcycle accidents are also the major causes of bone fractures so the best prevention here is being cautious and be defensive when you drive.
When to Call a Doctor
If you suspect there is a broken bone somewhere on the part of your body and there is severe pain with swelling, there could really be a fracture there. If the injury happens on the leg or on the arm and you cannot move the injured limb, this also indicates fractured bones. So whenever you had an accident or you see someone immobilized by accident and you suspect he or she suffered broken bones, call medical help immediately.