Types of Bone Fractures
High-impact collisions can damage soft tissue like muscles, joints, and ligaments. But the force can also cause bones to fracture. Unlike soft-tissue injuries, fractures don’t clear up in a matter of weeks with rest, ice, and heat. Instead, bones require immediate medical intervention to set the bone so that it can heal properly. Fractured bones should ultimately knit themselves back together, but the road to recovery can be arduous.
Below are the different types of fractures you can suffer in an accident. Treatment might require being set in a cast, surgery, or the insertion of a pin or screw.
A hairline fracture is a small crack in a bone. Typically, they are the least serious fractures though they still warrant attention. A hairline fracture in the ribs, for example, could cause pain while you breathe. As a result, many victims breathe more shallowly, which can lead to pneumonia, especially in the elderly. If you suspect a broken bone, go immediately to the doctor to have it checked out.
With this type of break, the ends of the broken pieces are aligned and close together. Stable fractures should heal relatively easily because a doctor does not need to use traction to join the pieces. Nevertheless, stable fractures in the leg or ankle can prevent a person from walking, so they are not minor injuries.
The skin breaks open, usually pierced by the broken bone. Sometimes the skin will open because of the blow that caused the break in the bone in the first place. Bones are often visible in a compound fracture, but not always.
The key with compound fractures is to guard against infection, so both the bone and the wound need to be cleaned. Any dead tissue should be removed in a process called debridement. Bones will be fixed in place and stabilized, using either internal or external fixation. A victim can also require antibiotics to make sure no infection develops.
Some blows are so traumatic that they will shatter the bone into several pieces. This is a comminuted fracture. Often, victims need a plate, screw, or pin inserted to keep the bones together. Patients might also need to remain immobilized to allow the bones to heal.
Screws and plates might remain permanently in the body or they might be removed after the bone heals. A comminuted fracture could take several months of immobilization before the bones fuse back together. Pain is usually intense, and many patients need prescription painkillers to help them through recovery.
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Broken bones are not a “minor” injury, and many people will be unable to work for months as they hope to recover. If you have been injured, please contact the Law Offices of David J. Hernandez & Associates today.
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