Bone fractures is the term used when a bone or bones are broken. Millions of people across the world are affected by bone fractures each year. Fractures are painful injuries, which are commonly caused by sports injuries, vehicle accidents, or falls. A fracture requires professional medical care and hence a person should be taken to the hospital as soon as possible to avoid complications.
What is a fracture?
A bone fracture refers to a broken bone. The structure of the bone is altered by the fracture. These fractures can occur along the length of a bone or directly across it. A fracture can break a bone into two or more fragments.
Fractures are categorized into different categories depending on their extent of damage or by the pattern in which the bones are broken.
The two major categories of facture are open fractures and closed fractures:
– Open fracture: Also referred to as compound fractures, a fracture is characterized as a compound fracture when the broken bone protrudes out of the skin or the wound caused by the fracture is deep enough to make the bone visible.
– Closed fracture: Closed fracture is the condition in which the bone is broken but the skin remains intact.
Fractures are further characterized into the following categories:-
– Greenstick fracture: This is the condition in which one side of the bone is broken and causes the other side to bend. Hence it is an incomplete fracture.
– Transverse fracture: In this fracture, the bone is broken in a straight line.
– Spiral fracture: In this fracture, the crack forms spirals around the bone. This fracture is mostly caused by twisting of the bone
– Oblique fracture: In this fracture, the bone is cracked diagonally.
– Compression fracture: In this fracture, the bone is crushed, giving it a wider appearance.
– Comminuted fracture: In this fracture, the bone gets broken into multiple pieces and the broken fragments are present at the site of breaking.
What causes a bone fracture?
Even though bones are extremely strong, they too are prone to breaking under strong impact. Most bone breakages occur when the bone collides with a stronger force. Repeated mild stress induced on the bones over a long period of time like while jogging can also lead to fracture in case the bones are lacking calcium. These fractures are referred to as stress fractures.
Osteoporosis, which is the weakening of bones with age, is another cause of fractures. It’s a serious issue, so senior citizens should talk to their doctors about the risks.
Symptoms of bone fractures
A fracture’s symptoms are determined by which bone breaks. If one has an issue with their arm, leg, or finger, for example, they’ll probably notice it soon away. Consider the following symptoms if not sure:
– The limb is difficult to use.
– Bump, bend, or twist that is noticeable
– Extreme pain
Methods of diagnosis
The healthcare professional will evaluate the injuries to diagnose a broken bone. One will almost certainly have to undergo one or multiple imaging tests as well. These tests may involve the following:
– X-rays: This technique creates a two-dimensional image of the fracture. This imaging is frequently used by healthcare providers.
– Bone scan: It is used by doctors to detect fractures that aren’t visible on an X-ray. This scan takes longer, and typically requires two scans four hours apart, but it can help reveal undetected fractures.
– CT scan: A CT scan creates detailed cross-section images of the bone using computers and X-rays.
– MRI: An MRI uses high magnetic fields to produce extremely detailed images. A stress fracture is usually diagnosed with an MRI.
Methods of treatment
Doctors usually imply the use of cast or splints to repair a bone fracture. Casts provide rigid protection for the fracture, whereas splints just protect one side. Both supports straighten the bone and maintain its fixed position (no movement). The bone heals and grows back together.
One won’t need a cast for tiny bones like the fingers and toes. Before employing a splint, the healthcare provider may bandage the injury.
The healthcare professional may need to put one in traction on occasion. Pulleys and weights are used to stretch the muscles and tendons surrounding the shattered bone. Traction helps the bone recover by aligning it.
For severe fractures, surgery is necessary which includes the use of stainless-steel screws and frames to keep the bone in position while it heals
Methods to prevent fracture
One can prevent fracture by two methods either by making the bones strong by consumption of proper vitamins and minerals and by avoiding injuries as much as possible. Here are the methods to keep the fractures at bay.
– Staying fit: Regular exercise like walking helps in keeping the bones strong and healthy. This increases their ability to withstand sudden jerks and impact.
– Proper nutrition: In order to have strong bones, it is vital to consume at least 1200-1500 mg of calcium per day and 800 to 1000 IU of vitamin D. The food that can provide these vitamins in surplus amounts are:-
- – Almonds
- – Chickpeas, tofu, etc
- – Milk and yogurt
- – Eggs
- – Brown rice, oats
- – Broccoli, spinach, etc
Recovery time of a fracture
On average, it takes six to eight weeks for a bone to completely heal. The time for recovery also depends on the site of injury and the severity i.e a broken leg will take much more time to heal than a broken arm.