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The Primary Types of Fractures You Should Know

Spencer E. Romine, MD | October 5, 2021

Fractures can happen at any time. For example, you could experience a car accident, get pushed during a ballgame, or even fall while walking along a sidewalk. Then, before you know it, you’ve got a crack or break in one of your bones. The injury could cause pain, swelling, discoloration, bleeding, deformity, and inability to bear weight on a damaged limb. Fortunately, our specialists can fix any bone injury, but treatments vary among types of fractures. 

Let’s look at the two main categories.

 

Closed Vs. Open

A physical therapist places an FDA-approved cuff around one of a patient’s limbs during the process. The cuff is designed to restrict a specified amount of blood flow to the body part, which deprives it of oxygen and traps lactic acid in the muscle. As the patient exercises, the lack of oxygen causes the muscles to work harder than otherwise. Thus, it produces better results with lighter weights.

Closed Fracture: We categorize a break as closed when the injured bone doesn’t break through the skin. Although these types of fractures don’t usually require emergency medical treatment, you still need to find help quickly. Without care, these injuries can cause fluid-filled sacs, called “fracture blisters,” to develop in the surrounding tissue, and those blisters can result in an infection. 

The treatment for closed fractures depends on the injury’s severity. We could either immobilize the bone or operate, but we’ll need to examine you with an x-ray to decide the best course of action.

Open Fracture: This category is more severe than a closed type, and therefore, it carries a higher risk of infection. An open fracture occurs when the bone breaks through your skin. If you experience one, you must seek treatment immediately. We typically care for these types of fractures by surgically inserting rods and screws into the bone to hold it in place. 

Of course, each primary type of fracture has subcategories. Some of the more common are:

Displaced vs. Nondisplaced: Sometimes, a bone will break so severely that its two ends no longer line up. This is called a displaced fracture, and it typically needs surgery to correct. 

Compression: Occurs in the spinal column and involves collapsed vertebrae. We use strength training to help these fractures heal. 

Greenstick: Happens mostly in children when their soft and undeveloped bones bend or break on one side. 

Transverse: Features a horizontal break in a bone’s shaft. 

Oblique, Spiral, Comminuted: This describes the fracture pattern and often how the mechanism of injury.

Stress: Small breaks in a bone that result from repeated pressure. We see these types of fractures in athletes, often distance runners. 

Oblique: Occurs when a bone breaks in a curve or at an angle. It’s often caused by a sharp blow.  

Pathological: Happens after a disease, such as osteoporosis or cancer, weakens the bones and makes them more easily fractured. 

The Orthopaedic Institute of Western Kentucky has a well-trained medical staff that can treat any bone injury. Call us at 270-442-9461 if you believe you have experienced a fracture. Depending on severity, you can schedule an appointment or simply walk in and see a provider.