Fractures, Fracture Healing and Types of Fractures

Fractures, Fracture Healing and Types of Fractures

Fractures aren't an injury that should be taken lightly by any means. Each of the many types of broken bones can be an agonizing and serious injuries, often requiring emergency medical care and radiology services. There’s a rich supply of blood and nerves contained in bones, which is part of the reason that there is most always swelling and pain directly after a bone injury occurs. No matter if the fracture involves complete bone separation or a partial break, the resulting pain and swelling can possibly remain for some time and be quite trying for the individual.

It’s important to note that the degree of pain associated with broken bones will not only vary based on the type of fracture involved, but also depends on the location of the fracture. The pain threshold of the individual may also play a role in the degree of pain experienced. A broken toe in a person with a low pain threshold might be incapacitating. Meanwhile, someone with a high threshold for pain may better tolerate the pain of a broken toe.

Fracture Healing

Bones are hard tissue, but many bone fractures can also involve damage to nearby soft tissue (sinew). This happens because ligaments, tendons, and muscle fibers can be injured simultaneously to the bone injury, especially in cases where the fracture is near a joint. Knowing this, it shouldn’t be surprising that the acute phase of fracture treatment is much like sinew acute injury treatment. In Chinese medicine, the healing process of fractures is divided into three distinctive stages, each lasting about two weeks:

1. Acute Stage

This stage occurs during the first and second weeks after the fracture takes place. The first seven days are accompanied by acute pain and swelling. A pool of blood is created from broken blood vessels around the bone. This pool of blood starts to produce bone cells within the first seven days. In the second week, the bone starts to knit. This process can cause discomfort and itching, especially at night.

2. Knitting stage

This stage occurs during the third and forth weeks after the fracture takes place and continues the processes started during the acute phase. As bone cells continue to be formed, so does the bone knitting. Even though the affected bone may have completed knitting by the fourth week, it will likely remain flexible and soft at the point of the fracture.

3. Complete Healing

This stage occurs during the fifth and sixth week after the fracture occurs. If the person is healthy and the break is one of the less complicated types of breaks, then the affected bone has most likely regained it’s strength and solidity as the sixth week draws to a close. On the other hand, complete healing of severe and complicated breaks can take longer. Of course, appropriate treatment immediately following the break and thereafter can greatly expedite the fracture healing process.

Common Types Of Fractures

While there are many types of specific bone fractures, the most common include the following:

* complete fracture - this is a fracture in which bone fragments completely separate across the width of the bone. In other words, the bone will be in two or more pieces at a cross-section of the bone.

* compound fracture - this fracture, also known as open fracture, is a fracture in which the bone will protrude through the surface of the skin. Since the bone is exposed to air, there is a high risk of deep bone infection with this type of break.

* comminuted fracture - this is a fracture type that involves the bone being splintered or crushed into multiple different pieces.

* avulsion fracture - in this fracture, a small fragment of bone tears away from the main bone. The tearing away may occur from the force of a trauma on a ligament that’s attached to the bone or when a violent muscle contraction causes a tendon attached to the bone to pull or force a portion of the bone away from the body of the bone.

* compression fracture - a type of fracture that is caused by bone compressing against bone. Vertebrae compression fractures are common in those with osteoporosis.

* spiral fracture - in this type of fracture, also called a torsion fracture, the bone has been twisted to the point of fracture. It is often one of the most difficult types of fractures to treat since the break is helical.

* greenstick fracture - this is a type of incomplete fracture where one side of the bone may or may not be broken and the other side of the bone is bent. It’s most often found is children.

* hairline crack - this fracture, also called a capillary fracture, doesn’t involve separation of bone fragments or misalignment of the bone. The line of break is very fine.

* stress fracture - this is a type of fracture that most often describes multiple tiny cracks in the bone. These cracks are the result of repetitive applications of force, overuse of the affected bone, or from normal use of a disease or age-weakened bone. Since the weight-bearing bones of the body, such as the foot and lower leg bones, bear the most stress, they are the most prone to stress fracturing.