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Fractures

A fracture is a common condition seen throughout the body after an acute traumatic incident.  It is occurs when a bone is separated into two or more pieces.  Often times when a fracture occurs a loud snap or pop is heard followed by immediate pain.  Other symptoms include moderate to significant swelling and bruising, point tenderness, inability to walk and an obvious deformity compared to the uninjured side.  The best way to diagnose an ankle fracture is x-ray.  Your doctor can properly identify the type of fracture and determine the appropriate course of treatment.


There are five different types of fractures: closed, open, transverse, comminuted and greenstick.  A closed fracture is where the bone is broken but the skin is not torn.  An open fracture is where the bone is broken and the skin is opened either from the bone fragment itself or by the blow that caused the fracture.  A transverse fracture is when the fracture line is perpendicular to the length of the bone.  A comminuted fracture is where there are three or more fragments of bone.  A greenstick fracture is caused by a bend on one side of the bone resulting in a fracture on the opposite side of the bone.


Treatment of fractures varies from external fixation or internal fixation.  External fixation can be immobilization in casts, splints or braces.  Internal fixation requires a surgical implantation of metal plates, pins or screws to stabilize the fracture.  The method of treatment and recovery is determined based on the type of fracture, location, alignment and age of patient.  Recovery can range from 4-12 weeks.  Generally speaking, younger patients tend to heal faster and can usually have a successful outcome with cast, splint or bracing immobilization.  Pain usually subsides before the fracture site has completely healed.  Sometimes a period of rehabilitation is required after immobilization to restore range-of-motion and regain strength.

 

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