Fracture

A fracture is an injury to any bone in the body where cracks or a complete break along the bone may be observed. This can be classified as either an open fracture, wherein the bone fragments can be seen breaking through the skin, or a closed fracture. The most common sites for fractures include the hip, wrist, and ankle.

Last Updated: February 25, 2024

Bone fractures occur due to extreme force of impact or stress that the bone cannot handle. The following can lead to broken bones: 

  • Physical accidents such as in falls or vehicular accidents
  • Athletic injuries and repetitive forces that leads to stress fractures
  • Certain medical conditions, such as osteoporosis, that weaken bones 
  • Violence in cases of abuse, physical fights, and direct blows
  • Bones weaken with age and the likelihood of fall accidents and conditions that weaken the bone increases risk for fractures

Those with fractures may experience:

  • Severe pain
  • Deformity
  • Swelling, redness, bruising and tenderness within area of injury
  • Difficulty or inability to move affected limb
  • Unable to put stress or bear weight 
  • With severe and open fractures, broken bone may pierce and be visible through skin

After a physical exam and a full health history is taken, diagnostic imaging will be done to conclude for fractures. X-rays are the most common imaging modality used to examine fracture but MRIs and CT scans can also be used when necessary.

 

Bone fractures can take several months to heal depending on the severity. Injuries are treated by immobilizing the fracture and aligning the bones well in order for the bone to naturally mend itself in the correct position. This may be done through the following:

  • Splints, casts and braces to support the bone and prevent movement
  • Skeletal traction wherein a system of pulleys, weights and pins are used to help the bones heal
  • Surgery is done on severe cases where metal rods and pins are needed to hold the fragments in place as the bone heals

Fractures can be prevented with the following remedies and lifestyle changes:

  • Taking precautions to avoid falls and injuries, e.g. using protective gear when doing sports or using a cane while walking for the  elderly 
  • Maintenance medicines for those suffering with osteoporosis and other bone-affecting diseases
  • Proper exercise will improve muscle mass and bone density 
  • A balanced diet can supply bones with healthy amounts of calcium for bone growth and strength



References:

 

Bone Fractures. BetterHealth Channel. Updated August 30, 2014. Accessed July 25, 2022. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/bone-fractures#causes-of-bone-fractures 

 

Brazier, Y. What is a Fracture? MedicalNewsToday. August 24, 2021. Accessed July 25, 2022. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/173312#prevention

 

Brennan, D. What is Skeletal Traction? WebMD.Reviewed April 27, 2021. Accessed July 25, 2022. https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/what-is-skeletal-traction

 

Fractures. Cedars Sinai. Accessed July 25, 2022. https://www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/f/fractures.html



Throckmorton, T.W. Fractures (Broken Bones). OrthoInfo. Reviewed August 2021. Accessed July 25, 2022. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/fractures-broken-bones/ 

Last Updated: February 25, 2024