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Types of Broken Bones - Compound, Displaced, Impacted, Oblique, & Transverse Fractures | Central Carolina Orthopaedic Associates - Sanford & Pittsboro

Regardless of how strong your bones are, how in shape you are, or how well you eat, accidents can happen and bones can break. Whether it be from a fall, a car accident, or some other external force placing pressure on your bones, breaking a bone is an experience that can be quite painful.

Fortunately, the team at Central Carolina Orthopedic Associates can help. We have years of experience providing elective and urgent orthopedic surgery and musculoskeletal care to clients suffering from broken bones and other musculoskeletal issues. Read on to learn about common fractures and how we can help treat them.

Types of Fractures

The type of fracture someone can sustain depends on the shape of the break and the intensity of the force that caused it. Less severe fractures may simply result in a crack, as opposed to the bone breaking all the way through. In more severe cases, bones may snap, break the skin, or shatter completely.

Different kinds of fractures include:

  • Stable fractures, where the bone is barely out of place and the broken ends line up.
  • Incomplete fractures, where the bone isn’t broken into two pieces but is still partially broken.
  • Complete fractures, where the bone has broken such that it separates into two pieces.
  • Open or compound fractures, where the bone breaks the skin and may or may not be visible.
  • Simple or closed fractures, where the bone is fully broken but does not pierce the skin.
  • Communicated fractures, where the bone breaks into three or more pieces.
  • Greenstick fractures, where the bone is partially broken and also bent out of its normal shape.
  • Displaced fractures, where there is a gap between the two ends of a broken bone - usually requiring surgery.
  • Transverse fractures, where the break features a horizontal fracture line.
  • Oblique fractures, where the break features an angled fracture line.

Treatment for Fractured Bones

Those who suffer a bone fracture will almost immediately experience swelling, bruising, and tenderness in the affected area. If you think you may have fractured a bone, you must seek medical treatment immediately.

The type of treatment you may need depends on the severity of the break. At a minimum, all fractures will require the area to be immobilized by either a cast or sling to allow the bones to heal. Severe cases, like comminuted, displaced, and open fractures may require surgery to repair the bone and restore the patient’s mobility.

Various bone fracture treatments may include:

  • Cast immobilization. A fiberglass cast is fitted to the treatment area to keep the broken bones in the proper position while they heal.
  • Functional casts or braces. This method allows “controlled” movement of certain body parts.
  • Traction. This treatment aligns the bones by using a gentle, but steady, pulling action.
  • External fixation. This surgery involved placing metal pins and/or screws into the broken bone. These features are then attached to a metal bar outside of the skin that stabilizes the area while it heals.
  • Internal fixation. Also a surgical solution, this operation is performed by placing screws, pins, or plates on the outer surface of the bone while it heals.

Recovering from a Bone Fracture

Healing is another component that varies depending on the severity of the break and the treatment your doctor chooses. Some simple breaks may take a few weeks to heal, whereas those that require surgery may require several months to heal completely.

Many orthopedic surgeons will provide or refer you to physical therapists, where you can improve muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion while relearning how to move after your injury.

If you have a fracture that needs to be treated, or you’re suffering from musculoskeletal pain, get in touch with the team at Central Carolina Orthopedic Associates so you can start the healing process today.

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