- The bone may be fractured but stable (simple fracture).
- Bone fragments may be sticking through the skin (open).
- Chip (avulsion fracture)—A small piece of bone is broken away from the main bone.
- Compression—The bone is compressed together (such as, vertebrae).
- Comminuted—The bone is in pieces.
- Greenstick—One side of the bone is broken and the other side is bent but not broken.
- Intra-articular—The joint is affected.
- Transverse—The bone is broken in a horizontal line that is perpendicular to the surface of the bone cortex.
- Oblique—The bone is broken in a line that is less than a 90° angle to the surface of the bone cortex.
- Spiral—The line of the fracture forms a spiral.
- Stress—A thin fracture line occurs due to overuse rather than a single traumatic incident.
|The Bones of the Body|
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- Pain, often severe (primary symptom)
- Instability of the area around the break
- Inability to use the limb or affected area normally (may be full or partial restriction in movement)
- Swelling or bruising caused by the bleeding from the bone and surrounding tissues
- Numbness caused by damage to a nearby nerve (rare)
- Fainting or even shock (rare–only in severe trauma)
- Putting the pieces of bone together (may require anesthesia and/or surgery)
- Keeping the pieces together while the bone heals itself
- A cast (may be used with or without surgery)
- Metal pins across the bone with a frame holding them outside the bone (requires surgery)
- A metal plate with screws (requires surgery)
- Screws alone (requires surgery)
- A rod down the middle of the bone (requires surgery)
Healing and Rehabilitation
- Delayed union—It takes longer than usual to heal, but does heal.
- Nonunion—The bone does not heal and needs some special treatment.
- Infection—This is more likely to happen after an open fracture or surgery.
- Nerve or artery damage—This usually occurs as a result of severe trauma.
- Compartment syndrome—Severe swelling in the spaces of the limbs that causes damage to body tissues.
- Late arthritis—This may happen if the surface of a joint is badly damaged.
- Avoid putting yourself at risk for an accident or other trauma to the bone.
- Eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D .
- Do weight-bearing exercise regularly to build and maintain strong bones.
- Do strengthening exercises regularly to build strong muscles and prevent falls.
- Patients with osteoporosis may benefit from bisphosphonate medications.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://www.aaos.org
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine http://www.sportsmed.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org
Browner BD. Skeletal Trauma:Basic Science, Management, and Reconstruction. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2003.
Fractures: an overview. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00139 . Updated March 2000. Accessed July 7, 2009.
Gruntmanis U. Male osteoporosis: deadly, but ignored. Am J Med Sci . 2007;333(2):85-92.
McCarus DC. Fracture prevention in postmenopausal osteoporosis: a review of treatment options. Obstet Gynecol Surv . 2006;61(1):39-50.
Rockwood CA, Green DP. Fractures in Adults. Vol 4. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins; 1994.
1/4/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us : Loke YK, Singh S, Furberg CD. Long-term use of thiazolidinediones and fractures in type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis. CMAJ. 2009;180:32-39. Epub 2008 Dec 10.
- Reviewer: John C. Keel, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 09/28/2012 -