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If you think you may have fractured a bone, your first stop should be to a orthopedic specialist. Same day services are conveniently available at our Orthopedic Clinic.
A fracture is any break in the surface of the bone or cartilage while often including damage to the surrounding soft tissue. A fracture occurs when force applied to the bone is greater than the strength of that bone. This is typically caused by accidents or injuries. However, there are other conditions such as osteoporosis that can make the bone prone to breaking. Sprains can sometimes include a fracture. While some fractures are treated with casts, others may only require the support of a splint, brace or sling. You may have been seen in the emergency room, urgent care clinic or by your family physician and referred to an orthopedic physician like Dr. Greiner.
The signs of a bone fracture can include swelling, tenderness to touch, or pain with use of the affected extremity. In more severe trauma fractures, deformity of the extremity or an compound fracture where there is an open wound or break in the skin near the site of the broken bone occurs. X-rays are the first diagnostic test used help diagnose a possible fracture, and direct treatment. If additional detail to the X-Ray is needed, a CT scan of the affected area may be ordered give 3D imaging of the fracture to help with treatment options. Sometimes a fracture is not evident on regular X-rays when a fracture is suspected. When this happens an MRI, which is a magnetic scan, may be necessary to confirm and diagnose the hairline or stress fracture. For those that can’t have an MRI performed because of health issues like having a pacemaker or other metallic implants, a bone scan can be used to diagnose the fracture.
Once the fracture is diagnosed, treatment can be implemented.
Options For Treatment Include:
- Immobilization using a cast or brace or splint.
- A reduction or manipulation of the fracture back to proper alignment, followed by immobilization.
- Stabilization of the fracture with metal plates, screws, pins, wires or rods, placed through an incision.
- An open reduction, where the bones are realigned after opening up the fracture. Stabilization, with orthopedic hardware, is often performed at the same time.
- Open fractures, where the bone breaks through the skin, are treated emergently with thorough rinsing of the fracture, and reduction and stabilization.
- Stress fractures are often treated with immobilization, and elimination of the activity that caused the fracture. Occasionally surgery is necessary.
Greiner Orthopedics have extensive experience in the treatment of fractures and other injuries. Please contact our office to schedule an appointment with one of our providers.