Fractures, or broken bones, are any loss of continuity of bone. They can occur in any bone of the body. A fracture can range in severity from a hairline fracture, which is a small crack in the bone, to a compound fracture, which occurs when the broken bone punctures the skin, to even the shattering of a bone into many pieces.
Most bone fractures are caused by falls and accidents. Most human bones are surprisingly strong and can generally stand up to fairly strong impacts or forces. However, if that force is too powerful, or there is something wrong with the bone, it can fracture. The older we get, the less force our bones can withstand.
Symptoms of a fractured bone include:
When a large bone is affected, such as the pelvis or femur, the sufferer may:
If a fracture is suspected, doctors will often order an X-ray. In some cases, a CT scan or MRI may also be ordered.
Bone healing is a natural process, which occurs automatically in most cases. In order for it to begin, the ends of the broken bone need to be lined up. This is known as reducing the fracture and may be done by manipulation, pulling the bone fragments or surgery. As soon as the bones are aligned, they need to be immobilized for healing. Fracture treatment is usually aimed at making sure there is the best possible function of the injured part after healing.
If you think you may have a fracture, contact the orthopedic specialists at Summa Health for a consultation.