Broken Bones and Fractures
50 percent of Americans will fracture a bone by the time they reach age 65
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- Adena Regional Medical Center
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Nearly 1 out of 2 Americans will suffer from a fracture before they reach retirement age, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). While people over the age of 65 are generally more susceptible to falls and osteoporosis – both of which can lead to fractures – the reality is that no one is immune to a fracture. In fact, fractures account for nearly 15 percent of all injuries in children. While the rate of fractures in men between birth and age 65 is 30 percent higher than in women, the rate of fractures among women age 45 and older is higher than in men. Understanding risk factors and prevention can help prevent broken bones, and comprehensive medical treatment—including physical therapy or rehabilitation –can help recover faster and more fully after a fracture.
Adena Sports Medicine is equipped to handle all types of fractures in people of all ages, providing the best fracture treatment in south central Ohio, from diagnosis to rehabilitation.
Fracture Treatment in South Central Ohio
A member of the Adena Sports Medicine team often can diagnosis a fracture with a physical examination. In some cases, an x-ray, MRI, or CT scan may be ordered to determine the severity of the fracture. Once a fracture has been diagnosed, treatment may consist of one or more options:
- Immobilization of the fracture with a cast or brace
- Surgery to align the fractured bone or to use pins, screws, or plates to permanently stabilize the bone
- Usage of a technique known as traction – which utilizes weights, pulleys, or ropes – to apply gentle force and immobilize the fractured bone.
Recovery time can vary depending on the type of fracture but is generally 6-8 weeks. Physical therapy after a fracture has healed may be required to assure complete recovery and use of the limb.
Understanding Bone Fractures
A fracture is characterized as a cracked or broken bone. Adults have more than 200 bones throughout their bodies, while infants have more than 300. Bones are the framework of the body and are only intended to flex slightly, thus anytime the rigidity of a bone is weakened, a fracture results. Bone fractures can occur in a number of ways and places throughout the body.
Causes of Fractures
Fractures can be caused by stress to the bone, a medical condition, or aging. Applying outside pressure greater than the slight flexibility of a bone – such as during a fall or blow to the bone – can cause it to fracture. Below are some common causes of fractures:
- Trauma: An injury as a result of a car accident, a fall, or contact during sports can cause fractures.
- Medical condition: Some cancers, tumors, osteoporosis, and aging can weaken bones, causing them to fracture. In fact, osteoporosis plays a role in roughly 1.5 million fractures a year.
- Overuse: Known as stress fractures, some athletes are prone to this type of fracture from overworking the muscle, causing it to apply undue stress on the bone.
Common Symptoms of Fractures
Fracture symptoms can be very pronounced or subtle. Some fractures feel like a sprain or pulled muscle. Adena’s Sports Medicine team can accurately assess the injury and determine if a fracture has occurred. Below are common fracture symptoms:
- Pain, swelling, or bruising in the area of the fracture
- Awkward angle of fractured bone – arm or leg facing the wrong way
- Inability to put weight on the fractured bone
- Bleeding due to fractured bone sticking out of skin
- Large bone fracture: may cause dizziness or nausea
Not seeking prompt medical attention for a fracture can cause the bone to heal in a wrong position, which can cause excessive pain or, with children, may interrupt growth. Seldomly hospitalization may be required to treat bone infections that result from fractures.
Different Types of Fractures
There are many types of fractures and some are specific to the area where the bone is fractured. The most common types of fractures include:
- Transverse fracture: Occurs when the bone breaks straight across
- Hairline fracture: Often goes undetected as a hairline fracture is more of a crack in the bone
- Compression fracture: Common to the spine where the vertebrae collapse on each other
- Comminuted fracture: Occurs when the bone breaks into three or more pieces
- Open fracture: Characterized by a broken bone that has punctured the skin; this type of fracture can be complicated by infection due to the broken skin.
Preventing a Fracture
- Consume adequate amounts of calcium and Vitamin D, which build to bone strength
- Stay physically active
- Undergo a bone density scan every two years to test for osteoporosis. This is extremely important for post-menopausal women.
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