Bones are an important part of your musculoskeletal system, providing everything from the shape and form of your body to the support and protection of your organs – as well as allowing movement. Although your bones may be strong and flexible, they are not invincible, so they can partially or completely break.
The severity of a bone fracture usually depends on the force the bone encounters. In a less serious fracture, the bone is merely cracked. In the case of extreme force – such as that sustained in a car crash, a fall, or while playing a high-impact or aggressive sport – the bone may break all the way through, or even into several pieces.
Besides trauma, the most common causes of bone fractures are overuse injuries and osteoporosis. An overuse injury is caused when repetitive motion places frequent and unnatural force on a bone; osteoporosis is a degenerative disorder that weakens your bones, making them more likely to break.
Types of Broken Bones
Doctors diagnose different types of fractures by the shape of the break. They include:
- Stable fracture – This is the mildest form of fracture in which the broken ends of a bone line up and are hardly out of place, so it heals easily.
- Incomplete or partial fracture – This is a crack that does not completely break the bone into two or more pieces.
- Complete fracture – This is a fracture in which the bone is completely broken into separate pieces.
- Greenstick fracture – This is an incomplete fracture in which the bone is partially broken, partially bent; it is more common in children.
- Transverse fracture – This is a broken bone that has a relatively straight, horizontal fracture line.
- Oblique fracture – Unlike a transverse fracture, this type of break has an angled pattern.
- Comminuted fracture – This refers to a fracture in which the bone shatters into three or more pieces.
- Simple or closed fracture – This is a fracture in which the bone fragments do not penetrate the skin.
- Open or compound fracture – This is a more severe break in which the broken bone breaks through or into the skin.
Treatment for a Broken Bone
Fractures in a bone can be treated in various ways, depending on the location and severity of the injury. The most common type of fracture treatment is cast immobilization. That’s because most broken bones mend correctly when a plaster or fiberglass cast has been applied to keep the broken ends in proper position while they heal.
Other treatment options include:
- A functional case or brace which allows limited or controlled movement of nearby joints.
- Traction, which is used to align bones using a gentle, steady pulling action.
- External fixation, in which metal pins or screws are placed into a broken bone above and below the fracture to hold the pieces in proper positioning for healing.
- Open reduction and internal fixation, in which bone fragments are surgically repositioned into their normal alignment and held together with screws, or by attaching a metal plate to the outer surface of the bone. Fragments can also be held together with rods.
Orthopedic Surgeons in Cleveland
The surgeons at Orthopaedic Associates have the specialized expertise to diagnose and treat complex fractures and traumatic injuries. We utilize both cutting-edge therapies and traditional treatments to address a variety of painful injuries and conditions.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call us at (440) 892-1440 or request an appointment online. We look forward to helping you get back to the active lifestyle you enjoy.