We hear a lot about bone fractures as the usual result of an unfortunate accident – be it a motor vehicle crash or a case of slip and fall. Every bone fracture is different, depending on the location of the injury and its severity, and therefore the doctor’s approach to treatment and rehabilitation is unique to it. In this article we briefly discuss about the different types of bone fractures , the causes and its diagnoses, and how a fracture gets treated as it goes through the healing process.
There are three common causes of bone fractures , although fractures may happen for a variety of ways. The first cause is trauma to bone tissue. A fall, an automobile accident or a sudden hit by an object can bring trauma to a bone, resulting to a fracture . The second cause is osteoporosis, or bone thinning. Over time, the bone gets less dense as bone protein and other minerals gets altered or lost. As a result, the bone becomes more porous, making the risk higher for a bone fracture . The third common cause is bone overuse. Most sports athletes suffer a bone fracture due to excessive stress forced on the bone location.
There are two general types of bone fracture – a closed fracture and an open fracture . A closed fracture means that the bone is broken but the skin is not affected (no wounds or lacerations). An open fracture means that the bone has pierced the skin, resulting to a wound which may or may not show the broken bone.
You can immediately tell if you have a bone fracture by just examining the affected area. Usually on the impact itself you may hear a crack or a snap, telling you that the bone was broken. There would be swelling in the area of the fracture and the skin would be tender. An X-ray will show the actual damage done to the bone tissue. In other cases, a closed fracture may also develop, but may not immediately appear as a fracture on the X-ray; instead there will be a painful sensation in the area, with some inflammation and tenderness.
The chiropractor (a physician who specializes in the bone) will use a particular method to fix the fracture , usually with splints, braces or casts, to make sure that the bone will heal in the correct position. For complicated cases, the chiropractor will use internal fixation methods such as metal plates, pins or screws implanted to the bone tissue. Depending on the physician’s assessment, he/she may employ either one or a combination of these methods.
It may take a number of weeks or months for a fracture to heal. Your bone tissue will start growing new bone cells on the site of the fracture , creating new bone tissues until the fracture is closed. The healing process is usually painful, therefore you must strictly follow the doctor’s advice on handling the fracture so that you can recuperate faster and resume to normal activity. During rehabilitation, your activity may be limited to the extent of the pain threshold of the fracture . By the time the bone becomes strong again, you may have to undergo certain exercise to strengthen the muscles surrounding the bone fracture so that it can function again normally. The exercises will increase in activity over time until the fracture is completely healed, and normal skeletal activity is restored.