Falls, car accidents, sports injuries, and specific medical conditions can cause a bone fracture. Fracture treatment aims to control pain, promote healing, prevent complications, and restore everyday use of the injured area.
In the United States, fractures account for 16 percent of all musculoskeletal injuries annually. Of the 16 percent, more than 40 percent of the fractures occur at home. Continue reading to learn about the causes and treatments for the most common fractures.
WHAT ARE BONE FRACTURES?
A fracture is a break or a crack in the bone that occurs when too much force is applied. Some bone fractures are more common in small children, while others are more common in adults and seniors.
Each year, over 6 million fractures occur in the United States. There are many types of fractures, depending on how the bone breaks. A bone can either be completely or partially fractured in many different ways, such as crosswise, lengthwise, or multiple pieces.
WHAT ARE SOME DIFFERENT TYPES OF FRACTURES?
Did you know that our bones bend and can give when an outside force is applied to help prevent them from breaking? Our bones are rigid, and if the applied force is too much, our bones will break or snap.
A fracture’s severity depends on the force and how much it caused the break. Depending on the force, the bone may only slightly crack rather than breaking the entire way through. It is not as common, but sometimes the bone may shatter; this is typically caused by a car crash or something with immense force.
Common types of fractures include:
- Stable Fracture: the broken ends of the bone line up and are barely out of place
- Transverse Fracture: a horizontal fracture line
- Oblique Fracture: an angled fracture line
- Comminuted Fracture: the bone shatters into three or more pieces
- Open Fracture: a breaking of the skin occurs. Infection to both the bone and skin can occur if not attended to immediately. Commonly found in sports and less commonly with home fractures.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF FRACTURES?
There are many different causes of bone fractures, but some are more common than others.
Some common causes of bone fractures include:
- Trauma including falls, sports injuries, twisting injuries, car accidents, fights, gunshot wounds, etc.
- Weakening bone medical conditions such as osteoporosis, infections, osteogenesis imperfecta, chronic steroid use, or bone tumors
- Over usage, which is commonly seen in athletes
- Stress fractures caused by repetitive motions
THE MOST COMMON FRACTURES IN SENIORS
As people become older, their balance weakens, making falls more common. These falls, which commonly occur alone at home, are bone fractures. The severity of the fracture depends on the fall and the force on the bone.
A collarbone fracture typically only happens in seniors with a hard fall or severe car accident. A simple fracture may require a sling or neck brace as the bone heals. For a more severe break, surgery and physical therapy may be necessary.
One of the more common fractures in seniors is a wrist fracture. When we fall, we tend to catch ourselves on our hands, sometimes resulting in a broken wrist. A splint, wrist cast, or surgery are typically the standard treatment options.
An ankle fracture will occur most frequently in seniors with a fall, sometimes involving stairs or accidents. Sometimes, people can still walk with fractured ankles. Depending on the severity, treatment results in a supportive shoe, an ankle cast, or surgery.
A vertebral fracture can occur most commonly found in those who have osteoporosis. When bones are weak, a cough, sneeze, or wrong movement can create a vertebral fracture. Most fractures will heal with proper rest. However, severe fractures may need surgery.
One of the most frequent and most severe fractures among seniors is hip fractures. The long bone in the leg, called the femur, connects to the hip joint. The top of the femur is the bone that breaks, resulting in sharp pain. Landing on or near the hip in a fall can cause a fracture. Surgery can help a fractured hip heal more quickly. If surgery is not a viable option, the second-best treatment is rest.
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR A BONE FRACTURE?
Treatment and recovery time will vary depending on the patient, the severity of the fracture, and what bone was affected. Some common treatments for fractures include:
- Cast Immobilization is the most common type of fracture treatment. Casts are made from plaster or fiberglass and do not allow movement to the fractured bone.
- A functional cast allows limited or controlled movement of nearby joints, typically a brace.
- Traction is used to align bones with a gentle, steady pulling action.
- External fixation is an operation that requires the doctor to place metal pins or screws into the broken bone and below the fracture site.
Physical therapy can help aid in all aftermath bone fracture incidents, especially for those who may be older, as recovery time may be more extensive.
TREATMENT FOR FRACTURES IN MORGANTOWN AND BRIDGEPORT | MOUNTAINSTATE ORTHOPEDIC ASSOCIATES
Bone and joint health are significant because they play many roles in the body, such as providing structure and protection. At MOA, our goal is to return patients to an active lifestyle and allow them to get back to doing the activities they love pain-free.
Mountainstate Orthopedic Associates has been providing care to our patients since 1977. Don’t let fractures hold you back from living your life. Give us a call at 304-599-0720, or click to schedule an appointment below.