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Fractures Article

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How to Recognize and Deal with Different Types of Fractures

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Many people are unaware of what fractures are. Years ago, you would hear people say, "At least it's not broken. It's only a fracture." What many didn't realize until much later is that a fracture and a broken bone are the same thing.

The bones are what make up the frame of the human body. Without bones to hold up together, there would be no frame. They form the skeleton, which supports the soft parts of the body. They actually hold together the entire body. They have a center part called the marrow. The bone marrow contains cells that help produce the red blood cells that transfer oxygen throughout the body. The bones also have many other minerals that keep the body strong.

As strong as the bones are, they do have some bend to them, which we need for protection from bangs and bumps. If we fall hard or are hit by something hard, the bones take a beating, but are protected by the outer tissue surrounding them. However, if the force is too hard, the bones will break, which is how we get fractures. When the body suffers fractures, they are followed by pain, which can be quite severe.

There are different types of fractures. Some of these include:

• Transverse fractures are when the bone is broken at a right angle to the axis of the bone.
• Greenstick fractures are most common in children and occur when the bone becomes bent. Greenstick fractures are considered incomplete fractures.
• Oblique fractures are when the break slopes.
• Impacted fractures, also called buckle fractures, happen when the ends of the bone are rammed into each other. We often see these in arm fractures in children.
• Comminuted fracture is when the bone breaks into many pieces.
• Pathologic fractures are usually caused by a disease that makes the bones weak.
• Stress fractures are referred to as a hairline crack on the bone.

When a person suffers a fracture, it is important they seek medical attention as soon as possible. Many times a person has fractures in one part of the body or another but don't realize it because they can still use the body part. Continuing to use a limb that has a fracture can cause further damage and a prolonged healing period. X-rays and a medical examination by a doctor will reveal if you have a fracture.

The type of treatment used for fractures is determined by the severity of the break, whether it's a closed or open break and which bone is involved. For instance, a broken arm would be treated differently than a broken spine. In most cases, the fractures are treated with a cast. In more severe breaks or fractures, surgery is required when a pin or rod is inserted to hold the bone together.