“Fracture” and “broken bone” are terms used interchangeably to describe the same injury. A bone that is cracked, broken, or partially fractured is a fracture or bone fracture. About 6.3 million Americans fracture a bone every year, and the average adult has two fractured bones in their lifetime.
A fracture can range in severity from a hairline break to a bone broken into two or more pieces.
The most common causes of bone fractures are falls, automobile accidents, and osteoporosis. In younger people, the reason is usually an accident or sports injury, while for those older than 75, the cause is usually osteoporosis, a disorder that weakens bones.
Did you fracture a bone or think you did? Our expert medical team at Douglas J. Abeles MD & Associates shares information about fracture types, symptoms, and treatments and why expert medical care is crucial.
Symptoms of a fracture
Not every fracture is the same, and symptoms vary, but the most common symptom is pain. Other symptoms include:
- The injured limb sitting at an awkward angle
- Difficulty moving or putting weight on the injured area
In some cases, you can see the bone sticking through the skin. This is called a compound fracture and requires emergency care to prevent infection.
Why expert treatment is vital to healing
Treatment for fractures involves creating the ideal environment around the bone to promote healing. Bones naturally heal over time. An X-ray and physical examination help us determine the extent of the fracture.
The treatment we recommend is determined based on your age, the location of the fracture, and the severity of the injury. Most fractures require a cast, and some need surgery. We have to line up the broken bones and then immobilize them so that new bone growth can fuse the fracture or break back together.
It can take a few weeks to a few months to heal, but if the bone is not aligned correctly, the healing process takes longer. Without expert care, more severe complications can occur.
For example, in children, a bone that doesn’t heal properly can affect the growth plate. This can lead to abnormal bone development and deformity.
A fracture that doesn’t heal properly can lead to a bone infection or bone marrow infection in adults. These types of infections lead to a severe chronic condition called chronic osteomyelitis.
At Douglas J. Abeles MD and Associates, we provide expert care to treat any fracture so your injury heals quickly and safely. If you’ve broken a bone or think you have, call our office in Castro Valley, California, to make an appointment.