What is a Bone Fracture?
A fracture is a broken bone. It is usually caused by severe injury or trauma.
Fractures occur when a bone is placed under too much stress or pressure. Many people experience at least one fracture in their lifetime, but children and the elderly are more likely to suffer from fractures. The severity of the fracture depends on several factors including its location and the amount of damage to the bone.
If you suspect you have a fracture, don’t wait to visit the emergency room. SignatureCare Emergency Center will give you x-rays and check for fractures and broken bones.
Our facility has all of the state-of-the-art technology to take care of you and our emergency room is open 24 hours day. You can make an appointment at our emergency room or just show up for any emergency care needs.
Types of Fractures
There are several types of fractures. They are categorized by how the bone is broken, whether the broken pieces have moved and whether the bone has broken through the skin.
In an open fracture, the bone breaks through the skin and is exposed. In some cases, the bone may then move back under the skin so that it is no longer visible. Open fractures, also known as compound fractures, must be treated as soon as possible because of the high risk of bone infection.
Open fractures may have problems healing because they are open to the skin. These fractures are caused by high energy injuries like those associated with sports, car crashes, falls and more. An open fracture is usually considered a fracture emergency.
A surgical operation is often required to clean the wound or area surrounding the fracture if it is an open fracture.
When the bone is broken in two but has not pierced the skin, it is a closed fracture. This distinction between a closed fracture and an open fracture is important because when the bone is exposed (open fracture) it is important that it is treated immediately.
In a non-displaced fracture, the bone is broken but stays in alignment. When your bone suffers a blunt force trauma, meaning when something hard forcefully hits your bone, it can break in many places. A non-displaced fracture is when your bone breaks in only one place and stays aligned or does not move to change the alignment.
A displaced fracture occurs when the pieces of the broken bone are no longer aligned. This is the opposite of non-displaced fracture. In displaced fracture, your bone breaks in many places and are displaced or misaligned as a result of the breakage.
In displaced fracture, the bone may pierce the skin as in open or compound fracture or it may not, as in closed fracture.
If the bone is broken into several pieces or fragments, it is a comminuted fracture. A strong force is required to cause this type of fracture and an open surgery is needed to repair a comminuted fracture.
Regular broken bone treatment is usually inadequate.
Greenstick fractures occur when one side of the bone is broken while the other side is not. They are seen more frequently in young children – usually 10 years or younger. Greenstick fracture is similar to what you might see when you try to break a small branch on a tree but the branch does not completely break off.
Younger children tend to suffer this type of fracture because their bones are softer and more flexible than the bones of adults.
Pathologic fractures are the result of bones weakening due to disease rather than an injury. It is also known as insufficiency fracture. Once a bone is weakened by a disease, regular daily activities such as bending down, coughing or even coming out of a vehicle can cause the bone to fracture.
Bone Fracture Treatment – When to Visit the Emergency Room
Fractures are usually very painful and the pain may increase when you move or apply pressure to the break. You may also notice that the area has become swollen or bruised.
If you suspect that you have a bone fracture, you need to come into one of our emergency rooms. Come in immediately if you notice:
- Your fingers or toes are turning blue or numb.
- The person with the fracture is unresponsive or not breathing.
- The fracture occurred during a serious injury.
- The neck, head or spine may be fractured.
- The bone has broken through the skin.
- There is heavy bleeding at the site of the fracture.
- The fracture is in the upper leg, pelvis or hip.
If you have a bone fracture, please visit one of our 24-hour emergency rooms immediately.
Fractures are considered an emergency. Our trained emergency room medical professionals are always available, even in the middle of the night, during the weekend and on holidays.
SignatureCare Emergency Center has multiple emergency rooms. Visit one of our ER locations close to you. Our board-certified physicians will get you taken care of, within the comforts of our fully-stocked facility. Schedule an emergency room appointment with us.