What is a Bone Fracture?
The term “fracture” includes all broken-bone injuries. These fractures are often the result of injuries and overuse but the risk is increased by osteoporosis. Participating in sports or rigorous exercise regularly may cause a stress fracture to form.
Types of Fractures
In the case of an open fracture, part of the bone is poking out of or pressing against the skin.
A bone that has split into at least three pieces is called a comminuted fracture. These fractures may need internal fixation to keep the pieces in the correct position. Comminuted fractures may be challenging to treat depending on the degree of damage. For instance, if a knee was smashed into many pieces by a great force, it may require replacement.
Bone fractures that do not heal after treatment and/or surgery due to an absence of new growth are referred to as “non-unions” because the edges of the bone break did not close together as expected.
Pediatric Growth Plate Fractures
Adjacent to the edges of children’s bones are sections of cartilage that aid in the growing process. These sections are called growth plates and are easier to break than hard bone. The fingers, forearms, and lower legs are the most susceptible to these types of fractures. Damage to a growth plate needs immediate treatment to prevent problems with the child developing properly.
Fractures may take weeks or months to heal after treatment. Your doctor may reposition bone fragments using traction or open reduction, a surgical procedure to put the usable (larger) bone pieces back where they fit together and potentially removing small shards. Possible treatments include traditional casts, braces, or “functional casts” that give the wearer a small degree of motion, internal or external fixation (holding the bone together with screws, pins, or other implants inside or outside of the skin).