A fracture is a break, usually in a bone. If the broken bone punctures the skin, it is called an open or compound fracture. Fractures commonly happen because of car accidents, falls, or sports injuries. Other causes are low bone density and osteoporosis, which cause weakening of the bones. Overuse can cause stress fractures, which are very small cracks in the bone.
Symptoms of a fracture are
Deformity – the limb looks out of place
Swelling, bruising, or tenderness around the injury
Numbness and tingling
Problems moving a limb
The severity of a fracture usually depends on the force that caused the break. If the bone’s breaking point has been exceeded only slightly, then the bone may crack rather than break all the way through. If the force is extreme, such as in an automobile accident, the bone may shatter.
A bone fracture is most commonly treated by the use of a cast and/or splint. A cast or splint will immobilize the bone in order to promote bone alignment and prevent use of the bone. In some cases when the bone is small (toes or fingers) no cast is needed and the fracture is immobilized by wrapping. Medication may also be prescribed to ease the pain of the fracture.
Surgery is sometimes required to treat a fracture. The type of treatment required depends on the severity of the break, whether it is “open” or “closed,” and the specific bone involved.