A fracture is the same as a broken bone. There can be numerous reasons why a bone would break and most are due to some type of injury or trauma. Very commonly people end up with fractures from slips and falls or while playing sports. There are some risk factors that may increase oneâ€™s chances of getting a fracture such as advanced age, certain types of cancers and osteoporosis. The extent of a fracture can widely vary as well from a minor fracture which may be difficult to even pick up on an x-ray to an â€śopen fractureâ€ť where the bone is totally broken and protrudes out of the skin (a surgical emergency that needs hospitalization and operation).
This article will review minor fractures. To a person with a fracture, no fracture is minor, however a â€śminorâ€ť fracture is defined here as one that usually does not require an operation.
A fracture should be suspected after an injury if there is deep pain down in the bone that gets worse when you push on that part. Besides the obvious pain, other signs include swelling, bruising, decreased ability to move the joint and inability to walk if it pertains to an injury in the leg or ankle. More worrisome signs that a physician can determine requiring hospitalization would include decreased pulse, cool or pale extremity below or further from the injured site, numbness and tingling.
X-ray is commonly used to diagnose a fracture, however not all fractures show up on an x-ray especially a â€śminor fractureâ€ť or a hairline fracture. An example of this is a rib fracture which may not show up on x-ray however due to the severity of pain it creates may exist. The good news about majority of minor fractures is that they need only a few simple treatments that can be provided quickly.
The way a fracture is treated totally depends on the location. These include splitting, casting or doing nothing else but applying cold packs and taking pain medications. Frequently a simple splint (which is a removable cast with a ACE wrap on top) is used to treat a minor fracture. This allows the part that is broken to be stabilized and limits movement, allowing quicker healing and less pain. Splints are commonly used in hand and arm fractures. Small splints are also available for finger fractures! Usually fractures of the leg or ankle also need crutches. Rib fractures usually need nothing else but pain medications.
It is important to look into if a fracture exists or not and treat it in cases where there is a suspicion for one since besides bones there can be injury to ligaments and tendons around the bone as well. Depending on the location and severity of the injury, follow up may be needed with a bone specialist or an orthopedic doctor to further assess or treat these other injuries and take care of the fracture.
Preliminary assessment as well as diagnosis with an X-ray and treatments can be quickly made in urgent care facilities such as CityMD . There is no appointment needed and the urgent care is staffed by physicians well experienced physicians who are capable of taking care of your minor fracture.