A bone fracture is a medical condition in which a bone is cracked or broken. It is a break in the continuity of the bone. While many fractures are the result of high force impact or stress, bone fracture can also occur as a result of certain medical conditions that weaken the bones, such as osteoporosis.
Fractures: Types and Treatment
The word “Fracture” implies to broken bone. A bone may get fractured completely or partially and it is caused commonly from trauma due to fall, motor vehicle accident or sports. Thinning of the bone due to osteoporosis in the elderly can cause the bone to break easily. Overuse injuries are common cause of stress fractures in athletes.
Types of fractures include:
Simple fractures in which the fractured pieces of bone are well aligned and stable. Unstable fractures are those in which fragments of the broken bone are misaligned and displaced. Open (compound) fractures are severe fractures in which the broken bones cut through the skin. This type of fracture is more prone to infection and requires immediate medical attention. Greenstick fractures: This is a unique fracture in children that involves bending of one side of the bone without any break in the bone.
Open Reduction and Internal Fixation (ORIF)
This is a surgical procedure in which the fracture site is adequately exposed and reduction of fracture is done. Internal fixation is done with devices such as Kirschner wires, plates and screws, and intramedullary nails.
External fixation is a procedure in which the fracture stabilization is done at a distance from the site of fracture. It helps to maintain bone length and alignment without casting.
External fixation is performed in the following conditions:
Open fractures with soft-tissue involvement Burns and soft tissue injuries Pelvic fractures Comminuted and unstable fractures Fractures having bony deficits Limb-lengthening procedures Fractures with infection or non-union
Growth plate fractures can be classified into five categories based on the type of damage caused.
Type I – Fracture through the growth plate
The epiphysis is separated from the metaphysis with the growth plate remaining attached to the epiphysis. The epiphysis is the rounded end of the long bones below the growth plate and the metaphysis is the wider part at the end of the long bones above the growth plate.
Type II – Fracture through the growth plate and metaphysis
This type is the most common type of growth plate fracture. The growth plate and metaphysis are fractured without involving the epiphysis.
Type III – Fracture through the growth plate and epiphysis
In this type of injury, the fracture runs through the epiphysis and separates the epiphysis and growth plate from the metaphysis. It usually occurs in the tibia, one of the long bone of the lower leg.
Type IV – Fracture through growth plate, metaphysis, and epiphysis:
Type IV is when the fracture goes through the epiphysis and growth plate, and into the metaphysis. This type often occurs in the upper arm near the elbow joint.
Type V – Compression fracture through growth plate:
This type of fracture is a rare condition where the end of the bone gets crushed and the growth plate is compressed. It can occur at the knee or ankle joint.