A fracture is simply another word for a broken bone. But fractures aren't always simple. There are many different types of broken bones, and they can happen in many different ways. One of the most common causes of a fracture is an injury, which could have been the result of a car accident or a fall, among other possibilities. The weakening of bones caused by osteoporosis can cause fractures. Also, overuse injuries from repeating an aggravating movement again and again can also contribute to a bone fracture.
Types of Fractures
The specific manner in which a bone breaks can also vary, and this will affect how it's treated as well as the potential complications that can result from the fracture. A stable fracture is often the best-case scenario. This is when the ends of the bones line up, and they are barely out of place. An open, compound fracture, on the other hand, is one that breaks the skin and can increase the chances of infection. Other types of fractures include an oblique fracture, which has an angled fracture line; a transverse fracture, with a horizontal fracture line; and a comminuted fracture, in which the bone shatters into three or more pieces.
A fracture is usually determined through an X-ray, but how it's treated will depend on the severity and nature of the broken bone. However, one rule always remains true: The bones need to be put back in their original position in order to heal properly. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, such as with a cast to immobilize the bone or with a brace for less serious fractures. In some cases, a gentle pulling action, called traction, is used to align the bones; in other cases, fractures need what's called fixation, which might involve using pins, screws or plates to bring the bones back into alignment.
Fractures usually take from a few weeks to a few months to heal before normal activity can be resumed.
SOURCE: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons