Bone fractures are usually classified as either simple or compound. Simple (or closed) fractures are when there is no break in the skin and therefore no exposure of the bone outside the body. Compound (or open) fractures are when the bone either punctures the skin or otherwise can be seen outside the body.
The most common causes of compound fractures are falls, accidents, overuse, and osteoporosis.
All fractures are serious injuries, most especially compound ones that can become infected. And if left untreated, fractures can lead to permanent injury of nearby nerves and muscles. If you have a compound fracture, seek medical help immediately and do not attempt to self-treat.
Signs, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Compound Fractures
If you suspect you suffered a compound fracture, call for help immediately. And while waiting for help to arrive, avoid any unnecessary movement. Remember that you have an exposed wound and are vulnerable to infection. Do not try to realign the broken bone. Wait for a medical professional to do it for you or you could contaminate the wound and damage the affected tissue.
Signs & Symptoms
A compound fracture has either punctured the skin or exposed the bone, which means it’s extremely painful. Even without attempting to move the injured body part, you will feel persistent pain with a compound fracture. In addition, you may not be able to move the affected area.
Diagnosing a compound fracture involves a physical examination by a doctor who will likely also order imaging tests to confirm the extent of the bone break and if there is any other damage in the area. Typically, your emergency care doctor will order an X-ray and possibly an MRI or a CT scan in the case of a compound fracture.
Treatment for bone fractures usually involves fracture reduction, which is the realignment of the broken bone. This assists the bone in healing itself. Your doctor may use surgical screws, nails, metal plates, and even external fixators (that remain outside the body) to encourage optimum healing of the fractured bone.
After a fracture reduction procedure, you will likely be wearing a cast, splint, or brace that will immobilize the area for a period of time after surgery. The length of immobilization depends on the severity of the injury and which bone is affected. But usually, it takes anywhere between 2-8 weeks. You may also have to use assistive devices, such as crutches, depending on the location of the broken bone.
One crucial aspect of post-op fracture treatment is physical therapy, which can help restore your strength, range of motion, and functional movement after your immobilization period is completed.
Orthopedic Trauma Surgeon in Cleveland, Ohio
Our surgeons at Orthopaedic Associates have specialized skills and experience to diagnose and treat a wide range of musculoskeletal injuries, including compound fractures.
The bone and joint specialists at Orthopaedic Associates provide highly individualized and compassionate care to our patients. We make sure that you receive the best care possible. Our multiple locations make it more convenient for you to visit us because we know emergencies cannot wait!
We serve the entire Cleveland area (as we have been doing for over 40 years) and have facilities in Westlake and Avon, Ohio. Please call us at (440) 892-1440 to make an appointment today.