Fracture Management

A fracture, in simple terms, is a bone break. There are several specific types of fractures and some of the most common ones include Simple (the bone itself is fractured), Compound (the bone is fractured and the skin is lacerated), and Transverse (the fracture goes across the bone) to name a few.

Fractures can be caused by trauma, pathology, or stress/fatigue. Sometimes bones become fatigued and weakened; when this occurs, they are more susceptible to fractures. Symptoms of a fracture include pain or tenderness, swelling, loss of function, and visible evidence (punctured skin or an abnormal angle).

Repairing fractures is a tissue regeneration process and varies according to the kind of bone, how close the fracture surface is, and the movement at the fracture. Fracture management includes operative and nonoperative techniques.

A fracture can be repaired by a nonoperative approach such as fixating it with a cast/splint or through a surgical approach like open reduction and internal fixation or external fixation. In open reduction, the fracture is prepared with plates and screws, whereas external fiction is done away from the site without casting.

A successful fracture repair will alleviate pain, encourage soft tissue healing, and avoid displacement. This can be done by an internal or external fixation, a cast or brace, or in some cases, sustained traction.

The goal is for the patient to be rehabilitated as soon as possible so that the repaired bone is fully aligned and joints are movable to full range.