Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Bone fracture facts
- Introduction and definition of bone fracture
- What causes a bone fracture?
- What are the signs and symptoms of a bone fracture?
- What are common types of bone fractures?
- Broken wrist
- Broken hip
- Broken leg
- Broken shoulder
- Broken hand or fingers
- Open fracture
- Stress fracture
- Compression fracture
- Broken rib
- Skull fracture
- Other fractures
- Bone fracture in children
- How is a bone fracture diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for a bone fracture?
- Bone fracture surgery
- Find a local Doctor in your town
What are the signs and symptoms of a bone fracture?
When bones break, they cause pain, swelling, and inflammation. The ability to move the joint above or below an injury does not guarantee that the bone is not broken. Instead, it means that the muscles and tendons that move the joint still work.
Unless there is a previous underlying condition that prevents the patient from feeling pain (such as a spinal cord injury or diabetic neuropathy) all broken bones hurt. The pain may or may not be felt at the site of the break but can be referred elsewhere. For example, hip injuries, especially in children, can have knee pain.
Other structures can be damaged when a bone breaks. Numbness and tingling can result if there is nerve inflammation or injury. A limb may be cool and without pulse if the artery at the fracture site is torn, kinked or clots off, preventing blood from circulating.
What are common types of bone fractures?
There are several types of bone fractures for example, stress fractures, compression fractures, open fractures, skull fractures, rib fractures, wrist fractures, hip fractures, leg fractures, and hand, toe, or finger fractures.
Wrist fractures occur when a victim falls on an outstretched hand causing one or more of the bones that make up the wrist to buckle. Eponyms (names of medical conditions or diseases named after those who discovered or first described them) are common in orthopedics, with types of fractures named after the physicians who initially described them. A Colles' fracture is common wrist fracture whereby a broken distal radius is displaced. A Eponyms is the reverse of a Colles'. Displaced fractures need to be aligned and kept in position while they heal so that the end result is not only cosmetically normal but also functionally normal. This is especially true if the fracture enters a joint. The joint surface needs to align perfectly, otherwise, over time, arthritis may develop limiting function and causing pain. Wrist fractures are perhaps the most common fracture of people under the age of 75.
Next: Broken hip
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