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What You Need to Know This Summer About Broken Bones and Fractures
That warm summer weather we’ve all been waiting for is finally here. While some may prefer to spend their days basking in the comfort of air conditioning, others are more concerned with getting in as much outdoor activity as possible this summer. While injuries can happen at any time, they tend to occur with more frequency during the more active summer months—especially when it comes to broken bones and fractures.
Think you may have suffered a broken bone or fracture? Here’s what you need to know and what you should do.
What are Broken Bones and Fractures?
Fractures and broken bones are most often the result of acute injury, such as falling, blunt trauma or unnatural bending of the extremities. Bone fractures typically fall underneath four distinct categories:
- Stable Fractures — The simplest and most common form of fracture, stable fractures happen when a bone is broken but kept in place. On an x-ray, stable fractures tend to look like thin lines and do not typically show space between bone pieces. Stable fractures come with a faster recovery time than many other forms when treated appropriately.
- Hairline Fractures — Also rather common, hairline fractures may be better known to some as partial fractures. In other words, they do not lead to bone separation and should not be considered complete breaks. Like stable fractures, the prognosis of hairline fractures is usually quite good.
- Compound Fractures — Referred to as compound or “open” fractures, this variety tends to be more serious than the two listed above. With compound fractures, the skin is usually broken and the bone (or pieces of the bone) may actually protrude through this break. Compound fractures often look worse than they actually are, though they can become serious if left untreated.
- Comminuted Fractures — The most serious variety, comminuted fractures occur when a bone breaks into multiple pieces—usually three or more segments. In these cases, metal screws may be necessary for repairing the bone. Surgery is typically necessary when treating comminuted fractures, although not always.
There is no broken bone or fracture that doesn’t qualify as a medical emergency—treatment should always be sought in the case of acute injury that leads to symptoms.
What are the Symptoms of Broken Bones and Fractures?
Unlike some illnesses or injuries, broken bones and fractures tend to follow a very specific course of symptoms, including the following:
- Pain (especially that which worsens when pressure is applied)
Be sure to contact your treatment provider in the case of any of the following symptoms:
- Bone protrusion
- Loss of mobility
Diagnosing and Treating Broken Bones and Fractures
Diagnosing broken bones and fractures starts with a physical examination, as well as a detailed description from the patient of the event which resulted in injury. While observation and physical examination can be effective diagnostic tools, an x-ray can be instrumental in confirming the exact type of fracture that may have occurred. From there, your treating provider can recommend the proper course of treatment.
The majority of fractures—especially stable and hairline fractures—require little more than splint, cast or brace treatment to manage pain and support the healing process. Serious breaks may necessitate the use of screws or pins, which can mean surgery and may result in a prolonged recovery time. This is especially true of comminuted fractures, most of which require a post-op period of physical therapy or rehabilitation.
Visit ConvenientMD to Get Treated Today!
There’s no getting around the fact that broken bones and fractures happen. While most are manageable with proper intervention, treatment should be sought immediately. At ConvenientMD, we see and treat broken bones and fractures of all kinds, helping patients get back on their feet as quickly as possible and reducing the risk of complications in the process.
Ready to get back on your feet? Just stop into any ConvenientMD location today—there’s never a need to make an appointment.