Types of Bone Fractures
sprains, and strains are all caused when excessive force is applied to some part of the body. Normally, bones, muscles, ligaments, and other body parts are very resilient. They can withstand large forces and twisting actions. But sometimes these forces and actions become too great. In such cases, bones may be broken, ligaments torn, or muscles bruised.
Risk Factors for Fractures
Anyone can fracture a bone. People who are active are more likely to break a bone, however. For example, people who participate in contact sports, like football and basketball, are at high risk for fractures. The elderly are more likely to break bones than are younger people. Bones become more brittle as one grows older.
Before the age of fifty, more men than women suffer fractures. These fractures are often caused in work-related injuries. After the age of fifty, more women than men suffer fractures. Women tend to lose bone mass more quickly than do men as they grow older.
A hairline fracture is a common overuse injury most often seen in athletes. Usually, a fracture is caused by an acute event, such as a car crash or a fall. When this is the case, the bone experiences a very high force that causes the hairline fracture. A stress fracture can occur in any bone, but is commonly seen in the foot and shin bones. They rarely occur in the upper extremity because the weight of your body is not supported by your arms as it is in your legs.
Because a child's bones are much more pliable than adult bone, an incomplete, or 'greenstick,' fracture may occur. A "greenstick fracture" means that one side of the fracture has broken and one side is bent; therefore it is classified as an incomplete break.
The name for a greenstick fracture comes from the analogy of breaking a young, fresh tree branch. Most often the greenstick fracture must be bent back into the proper position and then casted for about six weeks.
An open fracture is a broken bone that penetrates the skin. This is an important distinction because when a broken bone penetrates the skin there is a need for immediate treatment, and an operation is often required to clean the area of the fracture.
Because of the risk of infection, there are more often problems associated with healing when a fracture is open to the skin. Open fractures are typically caused by high-energy injuries such as car crashes, falls, or sports injuries.
A closed fracture is a broken bone that does not penetrate the skin. This is an important distinction because when a broken bone penetrates the skin there is a need for more immediate treatment, and an operation is often required to clean the area of the fracture.
Furthermore, because of the risk of infection, there are more often problems associated with healing when a fracture is open to the skin.
Fractures are commonly caused by a fall, strike from an object, or by twisting or bending of the bone. When the bone is only cracked or partially broke, doctors refer to it as an incomplete fracture.
An impacted fracture is similar to a compression fracture, yet it occurs within the same bone. It is a closed fracture that occurs when pressure is applied to both ends of the bone, causing it to split into two fragments that jam into each other. This type of fracture is common in falls and car accidents.
An avulsion fracture is an injury to the bone in a place where a tendon or ligament attaches to the bone. When an avulsion fracture occurs, the tendon or ligament pulls off a piece of the bone.
Avulsion fractures are also more common in children than adults. In adults, the ligaments and tendons tend to be injured, whereas in children the bone may fail before the ligament or tendon is injured.
A compression fracture occurs when the normal vertebral body of the spine is squished, or compressed, to a smaller height. This injury tends to happen in two groups of people.
First, are patients who are involved in traumatic accidents. When a load placed on the vertebrae exceeds its stability, it may collapse. This is commonly seen after a fall. The second, and much more common, group of patients are those with osteoporosis.
A multi-fragmentary fracture is a complete fracture where the bone is broken into several fragments or pieces. This type of fracture is usually a result of a severe injury. These fractures are usually treated with immobilization with a cast, or sometimes with pins, screws and plates.
When a bone is broken into two pieces, doctors may refer to this as a complete fracture. A simple fracture is a complete fracture where the bone is broken into two fragments. This break can be transverse, which means straight across the bone, oblique, which means at an angle, and spiral, which means at an angle that is twisted.
If you are suffering from bone or joint pain, please contact our office immediately to schedule an evaluation.
Dallas Orthopedics Institute
9330 Poppy Drive
Dallas , TX 75218
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