Types of Bone Fractures
Fractures are described as being open and closed, and displaced and non-displaced.
- In a displaced fracture, the bone snaps in two or more parts and separates in such a way that the two ends are misaligned.
- A comminuted fracture is a displaced fracture where the bone is broken into many pieces.
- In a non-displaced fracture, the bone cracks but stays in place.
- In a closed fracture, no piece of bone punctures the skin.
- In an open fracture, the bone pierces the skin, creating a risk of infection.
Terms Used to Describe Fractured Bones
- A greenstick fracture is an incomplete fracture in which the bone is bent. This is seen most often in children.
- A transverse fracture is a break at a right angle to the bone’s axis.
- An oblique fracture displays a sloped or curved fracture pattern.
- An impacted fracture (or buckle fracture) is one in which the ends are driven into each other. This type of fracture is most common in the arms of children.
How are Bones Most Commonly Broken Accidents?
- Almost half of all adult broken bones are arm fractures.
- Collarbone (clavicle) fractures are traumatic injuries often caused by motor vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents.
- Ankle fractures happen when a foot is twisted or extended in an unnatural way, as when a pedestrian lands in an awkward way when struck by a car.
- Fractures of the foot or toe comprise about 10% of all fractures and can be caused when a pedestrian is struck or run over by a car.
- Fractures of one or more of the 72 bones that make up the hand and fingers may happen when a pedestrian is hit by a car. These fractures often cause serious limitations.
- A fracture of the tibia, fibula, femur, or patella is a broken leg. A pedestrian accident, bicycle accident, car accident, or serious fall is a typical cause.
- A broken nose can occur in a car accident, fall, pedestrian accident, or bicycle accident, causing disfigurement and trouble breathing.
- A mandibular or jaw fracture is often caused by direct trauma in a pedestrian, motor vehicle, or bicycle accident, or in a fall.
Symptoms of Bone Fractures
- Swelling or bruising at the injury site
- Deformity around the broken bone
- Pain when trying to move or when applying pressure to the injured area
- Loss of function
- Visible bone fragment sticking out through the skin (in open fractures)
Possible Complications of Fractures
The severity of a fracture depends on where the break is located and how much damage is done to the bone and tissue around it. Fractures can cause dangerous complications, especially when blood vessels or nerves are damaged or when the bone or surrounding tissue becomes infected.
What is the Expected Healing Time for a Fracture?
This depends on the patient’s age, overall health, and the type of fracture. An uncomplicated fracture in a child often heals in several weeks. On the other hand, a serious fracture in an older person could take several months to heal.