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Fracture Care

Did you know that a broken bone of any kind is called a fracture? There are different types of fractures and each of them requires a specific treatment.

Common fracture types are:

Greenstick Fracture – often seen in children, a greenstick fracture is an incomplete fracture where the bone is bent.
Open or Compound Fracture – this is a fracture where the broken bone is exposed. This can be dangerous because of the increased chances of infection.
Complete Fracture – a fracture where the two pieces of the bone completely separate from each other.
Stress Fracture – is a common fracture caused by overuse. It is most often seen in athletes who run and jump on hard surfaces such as runners and basketball players.
Compression Fracture – a compression fracture is a closed fracture that occurs when two or more bones are forced against each other. It most often occurs in the bones of the spine and may be caused by falling or as a result of osteoporosis.

The physicians at Randolph Health Orthopedics & Sports Medicine are able to meet all of your fracture needs, regardless of the type. There are non-surgical approaches to fracture care which involve casting. The cast will immobilize the limb until the bones heal. After treatment, a patient will often benefit from physical therapy to help regain range of motion and then strength in order to get back to pre-injury function as quickly as possible. Another type of non-surgical treatment is splinting. Splints are most often used in the early phases of a fracture to allow for swelling and frequent checks. A special shoe or boot can also be placed if the injury is to the lower leg or foot. Both of these options will help to immobilize the injured bone while it heals.

Often times surgery is required to best fix a fracture. Your surgeon may recommend fixing the broken bone with special hardware such as a rod, or plates and screws that will hold the fracture together while your body heals.

Hip Fracture

One of the most common fractures in the elderly population is the hip fracture. Hip fractures can occur at any age; however, most occur in people over the age of 65. In the elderly, a hip fracture can be very a very serious condition, especially if complications arise.

If you have a suspected hip fracture, it is imperative that you see a physician immediately. In addition to evaluating your symptoms, a physical exam is necessary. The doctor will order x-rays to confirm the fracture and at times an MRI or a CAT scan is necessary.

Hip surgery is the most common treatment for a hip fracture. The type of surgery required depends on the type of fracture you have.

Some fractures require a hip pinning procedure (if the fracture is in the neck portion of your femur, just below the top of the bone), while others require metal plates and screws (inter-trochanteric hip fracture, or the area below the femur neck). If bone quality is poor, the surgery could require a total or partial hip replacement.

Where to go after a hip fracture is often a dilemma. Most of the time, you will be encouraged to start walking with physical therapy soon after your surgery, but a short stay in a skilled nursing facility is often required. This is only until you are able to move around safely, and you are correctly exercising on your own.

Wrist Fracture

Did you know that wrist fractures are the most commonly broken bone in people under the age of 65? Your wrist is made up of many bones; however, when speaking of a wrist fracture, a physician is usually referring to a fracture of one of the two forearm bones, the radius. Other bones that can break near the wrist joint include the ulna and the scaphoid (one of the tiny carpal bones).

The most common cause of a wrist fracture is a fall. Typically, the person falling tries to break their fall by putting their hand out which forces the wrist into a backward position.

If you suspect that you have had a wrist fracture, you should not try to move the wrist at all. Notify a medical professional as soon as possible to x-ray the wrist. This will help the physician determine the extent of the injury and proper course of treatment. Most of the time, an x-ray will show a wrist fracture. These can be taken in the physician’s office or in the emergency room.

Elbow Fracture

Your elbow is made up of three bones: the humerus, the radius and the ulna. The humerus is the large bone of the upper arm. As you follow the humerus down, it connects with the smaller radius and ulna, ultimately forming the elbow joint.

Your elbow is capable of two main types of movement: bending and straightening. However, it is also able to rotate when you turn your palm up and down. The muscles and tendons that surround the elbow joint help it to move in these directions and all of these motions may be painful or stiff after an elbow injury.

Elbows often break after a fall onto a stretched out hand, such as when someone is trying to catch themselves or break their fall. You can also break your elbow if you fall and land directly on it, or by twisting it severely. Broken elbows are often accompanied by sprains, strains and dislocations as well.

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