With more than 200 bones, your body is highly susceptible to accidents such as slips and falls that can lead to bone fractures. If you hear a popping or crackling sound when an accident occurs, there is a high likelihood you have suffered some sort of break. This is one of the most common reasons people have to visit an emergency room.
Where Bone Fractures Occur Most Often
Bone fractures occur most frequently in the arms, specifically the upper arm. They usually happen when people use their arms to brace themselves when falling or suffering another type of impact. But the feet suffer fractures on a regular basis as well, which makes sense considering they contain 25 percent of our bones. A bone fracture in the foot can be deceptive, because you may still be able to walk even though you are in severe pain.
Any time you suffer any sort of accident and have reason to believe that a bone fracture may have taken place, you need to see a doctor as soon as you can. If you delay, you run the risk of doing serious damage that could eventually turn into a long-term disability.
Different Types of Bone Fractures
There are different anatomical terms that describe bone fractures that occur in different areas of the body. These include:
- Anterior — occurring more toward the front portion of the body
- Posterior — toward the back
- Proximal — toward the center of the body
- Distal — away from the center
- Medial — toward the middle of the body
- Lateral — closer to the outside edge of the body
There are also specific terms regarding the direction that a fracture takes along a bone. These include:
- Comminuted — This is a fracture that occurs in two or more areas of a bone, with multiple fragments
- Oblique — A fracture that takes place at an angle to the bone
- Spiral — The fracture extends, or “spirals,” down the length of the affected bone
- Transverse — A fracture that moves across the bone
Bone Fractures — Symptoms and Treatment
The most obvious characteristics of bone fractures are deformities, where the affected area may be bent at an odd angle. In some cases, a bone may even puncture the skin. But other signs of a break are subtler, such as extreme tenderness or swelling in the area or significant bruising.
Treatment must be provided as quickly as possible, with the broken pieces put back together and immobilized so they can’t move out of place. Healing occurs as new bone forms around the area of the fracture. Immobilization may take place through the use of a cast made of fiberglass or plaster or a functional cast that allows controlled movement of the affected joint.
In some instances, however, screws or pins may need to be inserted into the bone above and below the site of the fracture. The pins or screws are sometimes then connected to a metal bar outside of the skin. This bar acts as a frame that stabilizes the fracture while the bones heal.
At Regional Orthopedics, our highly specialized surgeons and physicians have a great deal of experience in treatment and aftercare of bone fractures. If you would like to learn more or schedule an appointment, contact us online or call or 718.477.5479.