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Fracture

more about Fracture


  • This condition can refer to a break in a bone (broken bone), but it also refers to a break in a cartilage segment.
  • 5 physical signs of a fracture:
    1. Localized pain, point tenderness (pain over the exact point of the fracture)
    2. Swelling
    3. Bleeding into the skin, over the fracture site
    4. Crepitus (a crackling sound, heard when pieces move)
    5. Loss of function
  • An X-ray will usually show a fracture, but if the fracture is very small or the fracture line is very thin, the X-ray may appear normal.  Also, if there is no displacement of the fracture pieces and the pieces are perfectly aligned, the X-ray may be normal.  To visualize the previously-invisible fracture (called an occult fracture), a repeat X-ray days to weeks later may now show a fracture line because of the loss of bone along the fracture line during the healing phase of a bone fracture.
  • An occult fracture is suspected because of the physical signs of a fracture.
  • In an impacted fracture, the pieces are jammed together by the force of the injury, and we may not see a fracture line because the bony pieces are pushed into each other.  This obscures the line we would see if the pieces were pulled apart, as in the usual fracture.
  • Cartilage fractures are very hard to see if the fracture only involves cartilage and no adjacent bone is involved.

  • Pain, a deformity at the fracture site, or loss of function of that body part.

  • Fractures are usually due to injury.
  • Fractures that occur spontaneously, caused by a disease, are called pathologic fractures.  They might occur from loss of mineral from the bone, loss of supporting substance in the bone, or crowding-out of the normal bone tissue by other tissue that doesn't belong there, such as a small bone cyst.
  • Pathologic fractures often occur in a part of the bone that is not a stress point, that hardly ever gets fractured.  In children, most pathologic fractures are caused by benign diseases.

  • Diagnosis is usually made by seeing a clear line that does not belong there, on an X-ray of the particular site.  The fracture line will likely be at the exact spot where the person has pain.

  • Athletes
  • Manual laborers
  • Disease of bone, such as a small benign bone cyst, is a cause of pathologic fractures in children.

  • Fractures usually are splinted or casted to place the injured part at-rest, avoiding movement of the fracture pieces while they are healing.  If the fracture caused a deformity and the fracture pieces are out of alignment, a cast is a way of holding the pieces in-place after the physician lines up the pieces correctly.
  • In some minor fractures where a deformity does not have to be corrected, such as a minor fracture of a toe, some simple method might be used to hold the pieces in-place.  "Buddy-taping," one such method, tapes the fractured toe to an adjacent toe in a special way.  This really does not prevent movement of the pieces at the fracture site, but it limits the movement.
  • Surgery is necessary in some cases, to correct a fracture or clean out material that may cause infection.

  • Non-healing or delayed healing
  • Deformity
  • Infection

  • Localized pain, especially continued pain after an Injury, may mean a fracture.
  • Swelling, bleeding, a crackling sound when the injured part is moved, and loss of function may all mean a fracture.
  • It is necessary for you to see a physician urgently for any suspected fracture, since complications are more likely if you delay.




more about Fracture


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