Types of bone fractures can be many, but here are the main classifications. If you’ve ever had a broken bone, chances are that you know exactly which one you had – the one that hurt 🙂
The Basics of a bone fracture (medical term for Broken Bone): Most commonly, bone fractures are caused by forced impact, falling, osteoporosis (mostly in the elderly), and overuse, such as a runner’s constant pounding on pavement. Bone fractures are pretty common, and the average person will have two during their lifetime. Of course, with over 200 bones in our body, only breaking two doesn’t seem so bad. And talking about bones, did you know that we are born with 270, but that number decreases to 206 by adulthood? Where do they go? Some bones actually just fuse together with other bones. And, our total bone mass reaches its maximum by around the age of 30. Ok, back to Types of Bone Fractures.
The main categories are Displaced, Non-displaced, Closed, and Open. A displaced fracture is a a bone that snaps into two or more parts, with the ends not lining up straight. A non-displaced fracture is a full or partial break, but maintains the alignment or straightness of the bone, itself. A closed fracture is a bone break that does not puncture the skin. An open (“compound”) fracture is one that breaks through the skin, but could then recede back under the skin. An open fracture runs a much greater risk of a deep bone infection.
Here are the main fracture types:
- Comminuted Fracture – one that breaks into several pieces.
- Transverse Fracture – when the broken part of the bone is rested at a right angle to the bone’s axis.
- Greenstick Fracture – when the bone is bent, and not a complete break. This fracture most often occurs in children.
- Stress Fracture – is a hairline crack, see often with runners.
- Pathologic Fracture – caused by a disease, which weakens the bones.
- Oblique Fracture – when a break has a sloped or curved pattern.
- Buckled Fracture (impacted fracture) – when the broken ends are driving into each other – occurs often in arm breaks of children.
The severity of a bone fracture is determined by several factors, including the type, its location, surrounding tissue, and damage done. Serious complications, such as infection or damage to the blood vessels or nerves, can occur if a bone fracture is not promptly and properly treated. Also, a broken bone may not show signs of swelling. While a stress (hairline) fracture may heal within a few weeks, an open or compound fracture may take several months to heal.
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