Speed Up Fracture Healing

Occult Fracture Treatment | Occult Bone Fracture Surgery, Healing Time, Recovery, Types and Exercises

21 Sep

Overview on Occult Fractures

Fractures occur when a certain activity leads to a crack or a break on the bones. There are any bones in the body that are used for support, mobility, and protection of the important internal organs. These bones are also used to store minerals and they absorb calcium phosphate that is also deposited in them to be strong and dense. As a human being grows, the number of bones in the body would decrease from 270 in infants to about 206 of them as some bones would combine and become bigger and denser bones in an adult body. In fact, it is at the age of 30 that the bones are at their most dense state, but their density might dwindle as one’s age continues to increase. Thus, an aging person should eat a healthy diet with lots of foods that are sources of vitamin D and calcium for healthier bones. However, a bone fracture can still happen when a high impact force hits the bones. A fracture can basically happen to most of the more than 200 bones in the body. For instance, a fall may lead to a fractured elbow or a vehicular collision may cause a fracture of hip. Some other scenarios that can lead to a fracture injury would be motor accidents or a slip. These are the usual causes of fracture injuries that can affect different bones, resulting to different ways by which fracture classification is done.

Fracture diagnosis is usually done in with the help of x-ray. If a certain line appears oddly out of nowhere when the x-ray film is compared to the image of a normal bone, there is certainly an injured bone that is cracked or broken. Other diagnostic tests that are usually done by the doctor to know how to heal an injury are MRI and CT scans. Sometimes, ultrasound is also performed especially for hidden fractures. However, there are certain fractures that cannot be seen on the initial diagnostic test. However, as the fracture healing time continues, it will eventually show itself. This is called the occult fracture.

What is occult fracture?

This is the type of fracture that tends to hide itself that it could not be easily spotted during the first batch of diagnostic tests. During a standard examination using x-ray, no break or crack can be seen. However, follow up x-rays can help uncover them later while the bones are healing. This is the occult fracture definition that a patient should know. A radiographer should have this as basic knowledge as well in order to avoid misleading any method on how to treat occult fracture quick. For instance, a fractured foot with the occult symptoms will not be easily recognized by an inexperienced radiographer, especially when the patient has stress fractures of the foot with small cracks. Stress fracture or fatigue fracture only has very small cracks that occur on the bone after overuse.

How is the diagnosis of an occult injury done?

The diagnosis of occult fractures is not easily done. Even if initial tests will not show anything, recurrent fracture symptoms will signal the presence of a fracture. The best thing to do would be to do more imaging tests if plain x-rays will still come out with negative results of any fracture.  A series of follow up tests should be done, such as a bone scan and CAT scan. These tests can help find the occult nonunion fracture or whatever injury it is. These can show more accurate images to help detect occult fractures. This can surely help in identifying occult radial head fracture. The same procedure in diagnosis will also help in detecting occult supracondylar fracture.

The MRI scan is considered as the most accurate diagnostic test to know what the right occult fracture treatment should be. Basically, what one has to do to in order to discover an occult scaphoid fracture, a type of wrist injury, is to be persistent in doing more imaging tests. Plain x-rays would have worked for detecting fractures like Monteggia fracture, in as much as they will work on finding the Maisonneuve injury. The bone scan might only be required in extreme cases of navicular stress fracture. This also goes the same for a nondisplaced fracture and for most of the types of fractures.

The danger of a fractured occult bone can be lessened if the symptoms can be detected. The knowledge on what these symptoms are can help discover ways on how to heal an occult fracture. The rule of thumb is that when the symptoms of a certain fracture keep on surfacing, such as pain, swelling, and the like, the right occult fracture treatment will be known as well. Countdown to the completion of the recovery time will start by then. For the fracture healing time to be short and quick, the patient should also be keen on knowing what the symptoms of a certain fracture are.

A. Occult Fracture Elbow Symptoms

These are the signs of an elbow occult bone fracture that should tell its presence even if the first few x-rays will return with negative results. These symptoms can help find occult fracture elbow treatment, which is necessary because it is likely that this type of fracture will only show itself during the period of recuperation. An occult elbow fracture would have the following symptoms:

  • Swelling on the surrounding areas of the fractured elbow, particularly above or below the elbow
  • Discoloration of the area, such as being black and blue or red
  • Elbow deformity and deformation of other areas around it
  • Limited motion of the elbow, such as that flexion/extension and inward/outward rotation are restricted
  • An open wound on the injured elbow
  • Numbness of the hand or fingers on the side of the affected elbow
  • Coolness of the injured elbow relevant to other parts of the arms
  • Severe pain
  • Feeling of being too tight on the elbow

B. Occult Fracture Wrist Symptoms

  • Wrist pain
  • Wrist tenderness
  • Wrist swelling
  • Hand pain
  • Stiffness on the wrist joint
  • Deformed wrist
  • Numbness of the hand
  • Weakness of the hand
  • Arm pain

C. Occult Hip Fracture Symptoms

  • Severe pain on the groin or fractured hip
  • Immobility on the occult hip fracture after a fall
  • Inability of the leg in the same side of the hip to carry the weight of the body
  • Leg near the injured hip is turned outward or external rotation
  • Bruising, stiffness, and swelling on the occult fracture hip site

D. Occult Fracture Foot Symptoms

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness or bruising
  • Difficulty in walking, in extreme cases

E. Occult Fracture Ankle Symptoms

  • Pain, but mostly not really felt on the area of the injury
  • Associated foot and knee fractures that cause pain
  • Swelling around the area of injured ankle
  • Hemarthrosis, or blood in the joint
  • Black and blue bruising toward the toes or the sole of the affected foot
  • Pale skin
  • Inability to move

F. Occult Rib Fracture Symptoms

  • Tenderness on the area when touched
  • Severe pain on the injured area
  • Abdominal pain of the 11th and 12th ribs are fractured
  • Knocked out sensation when trying to breathe
  • Presence of small air pockets on the neck or chest
  • Severe pain when sneezing, coughing or inhaling deeply
  • Bruising and swelling on the fractured rib

G. Occult Stress Fracture Symptoms

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Localized tenderness
  • Decreased swelling upon resting and increased swelling upon doing any activity
  • Pain during workout
  • Pain even at rest, a sign of a worsening stress fracture

H. Occult Fracture Knee Symptoms

  • Knee deformity, particularly on the joint
  • Severe pain
  • Severe swelling
  • Leg weakness
  • Leg numbness
  • Foot weakness
  • Difficulty in standing on injured knee
  • Inability to walk or move the injured knee
  • Severe tenderness


There are different types of occult fracture that would call for different first aid treatments. However, the fracture first aid must be done by a medically trained individual. If not, the occult injury might be worse off. Pain caused by broken occult bones can be relieved with medicines for pain relief and anti-inflammation. Severe cases of injury would call for fracture surgery. In some cases, a fracture cast is also used. After a certain recovery period, rehabilitation is necessary. This usually extends the occult fracture healing time.

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