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Fractures: Types, causes, symptoms, and treatment

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2019-12-02
Nice to Know

Fractures: Types, causes, symptoms, and treatment

by Dhani Anggara, MD

FRACTURE

A fracture, also known as a broken bone, is a condition that changes the contour (shape) of the bone. Fractures often occur when there is a high force or impact put on a bone.

There is a range of fracture types, including:

  • Avulsion fracture - a muscle or ligament pulls on the bone, fracturing it.
  • Comminuted fracture - the bone is shattered into many pieces.
  • Compression (crush) fracture - generally occurs in the spongy bone in the spine. For example, the front portion of a vertebra in the spine may collapse due to osteoporosis.
  • Fracture dislocation - a joint becomes dislocated, and one of the bones of the joint has a fracture.
  • Greenstick fracture - the bone partly fractures on one side, but does not break completely because the rest of the bone can bend. This is more common among children, whose bones are softer and more elastic.
  • Hairline fracture - a partial fracture of the bone. Sometimes this type of fracture is harder to detect with routine x-rays.
  • Impacted fracture - when the bone is fractured, one fragment of bone goes into another.
  • Intra-articular fracture - where the break extends into the surface of a joint
  • Longitudinal fracture - the break is along the length of the bone.
  • Oblique fracture - a fracture that is diagonal to a bone's long axis.
  • Pathological fracture - when an underlying disease or condition has already weakened the bone, resulting in a fracture (bone fracture caused by an underlying disease/condition that weakened the bone).
  • Spiral fracture - a fracture where at least one part of the bone has been twisted.
  • Stress fracture - more common among athletes. A bone breaks because of repeated stresses and strains.
  • Torus (buckle) fracture - bone deforms but does not crack. More common in children. It is painful but stable.
  • Transverse fracture - a straight break right across a bone.

 

First Aid for Fracture:

It requires medical attention. If the broken bone is the result of major trauma or injury, call 911 or your local emergency number (KMC Clinic on +628123896618). Also call for emergency help if:

  • The person is unresponsive, isn't breathing or isn't moving. Begin CPR if there's no breathing or heartbeat.
  • There is heavy bleeding.
  • Even gentle pressure or movement causes pain.
  • The limb or joint appears deformed.
  • The bone has pierced the skin.
  • The extremity of the injured arm or leg, such as a toe or finger, is numb or bluish at the tip.

You suspect a bone is broken in the neck, head or back.

Don't move the person except if necessary to avoid further injury. Take these actions immediately while waiting for medical help:

  • Stop any bleeding. Apply pressure to the wound with a sterile bandage, a clean cloth or a clean piece of clothing.
  • Immobilize the injured area. Don't try to realign the bone or push a bone that's sticking out back in. If you've been trained in how to splint and professional help isn't readily available, apply a splint to the area above and below the fracture sites. Padding the splints can help reduce discomfort.
  • Apply ice packs to limit swelling and help relieve pain. Don't apply ice directly to the skin. Wrap the ice in a towel, piece of cloth or some other material.
  • Treat for shock. If the person feels faint or is breathing in short, rapid breaths, lay the person down with the head slightly lower than the trunk and, if possible, elevate the legs.

 

Source:

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-fractures/basics
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/fracture#outlook
  3. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/understanding-fractures

 

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