Traumatic Fracture – An Overview

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A bone fracture is a medical condition wherein there is a break in the continuity of bone. Traumatic bone fracture is a medical condition where the fracture in bone is caused due to a sustained trauma or high force impact or stress, such as a road accident, a fall, etc. In case of fractures of traumatic origin, there is a prevalence of shearing and severance.

In terms of the cause, fractures are largely classified as a traumatic fracture or pathological fracture. Traumatic fractures are those where in the cause is a high force external impact or stress on the bone that makes the bone to break. It could be due to any traumatic incident, such as vehicle accidents, falls and sporting injuries. Pathological fractures are those in which the fracture occurs due to the bone becoming weak or fragile, due to an underlying disease, and the bone may break even with a trivial injury. Medical condition such as osteoporosis is one of the most common causes of pathological fractures.

Characteristic symptoms-

Unlike metabolic fracture where there is absence of pain and discomfort, traumatic fractures are almost always extremely painful. This is because; in case of traumatic fracture the surrounding tissues are involved. The surrounding connective tissues are abundantly supplied with pain fibers, and in traumatic fractures, these surrounding tissues are torn resulting in significant pain.

The symptoms of fracture caused by trauma depend upon the particular bone and the severity of the injury. The common symptoms may include swelling, bruising, deformity, and inability to use the limb. Local bruising and tenderness in the affected area as well as possible skin stretch marks, band marks and hematoma are also included in the symptoms.

Types of fractures-

Traumatic fractures are categorized in to complete and incomplete fractures, simple and compound fractures. Complete and incomplete fractures refer to the way the bone breaks. The complete fracture involves breaking of the bone; whereas in the incomplete fracture, the bone cracks but is not completely broken.

In a compound fracture, the bone breaks and fragments of the bone penetrate through the internal soft tissue of the body. This is often associated with high level of infection.

On the other hand, in simple fractures, there is no involvement of the soft tissues. Other common types include greenstick fracture (incomplete fracture in which only one side of the bone is broken), Hairline fracture (stable fracture in which there is minimal trauma to the bone and soft tissues), impacted fracture (the ends of broken bone are fused together).

Treatment-

The treatment of a traumatic fracture depends upon the location and extent of the break and whether it is displaced. The goal of the treatment is to align the fractured bones to allow them to heal. With the help of X-ray and symptoms, the severity is diagnosed and treatment is advised. The orthopedic surgeon works closely with other specialty physicians as needed to develop a comprehensive care plan for patients suffering from traumatic injuries. The commonly used treatment options include casts, splints and braces. Depending upon the severity and type of the bone fracture, the casts are worn.

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