While bones bend or “give” when pressure is applied, too much pressure will cause a bone to fracture. A fracture is another term for a broken bone. Depending on the injury, bones may be completely fractured or partially fractured in any number of ways. The severity of the fracture typically depends on the force that caused the bone to break.
Usually, you know immediately if you have broken a bone. There may be a snap, pop, or cracking sound on impact and the surrounding area will become tender and swollen. Fractures are very painful and can prevent you from moving the injured area for some time. The affected area may look deformed or out of place if the bone has shifted.
Athletes involved in physically demanding contact sports are at a much higher risk of sustaining an injury or fracture. Overuse fractures commonly occur during sports like soccer or baseball when repetitive motions put more pressure on the bones involved. Other common types of fractures include transverse, compression, and comminuted. Although less common, open compound fractures are a more serious injury that causes the skin to break, potentially exposing the bone.
Fractures are best treated as soon as possible after the injury occurs. A trained medical professional will perform a careful examination to assess the affected area. The most common way to diagnose a fracture is with an x-ray, which provides a clear image of the bone. X-rays allow doctors to see whether a bone is intact or broken to further decide the best treatment option.
The most common way to treat a serious fracture is to reposition the bone with a plaster or fiberglass cast. The narrow structure of a cast allows the fractured bone to heal in the proper position. For less serious fractures, a brace allows for controlled movement of nearby joints and muscles. This form of treatment is a successful way to begin working the injured area again. Fractures that require surgical correction are stabilized with metal screws and an external metal bar. This device works similarly to a cast or brace as it positions the bone into the correct position.
If left unaddressed, fractures will heal improperly causing a range of new problems. The overall recovery time will depend on the extent of the injury and how well you follow your doctor’s advice. Rehabilitation programs or physical therapy can help regain strength to the injured area after the fracture has healed. For more information about treating a fractured bone, contact the exceptional orthopedic team with Dr. Chams. Dr. Chams is a leading expert in the field of sports medicine and orthopedic surgery in Illinois. Let us help you get back in the game and moving without pain as soon as possible.