Dallas Bone Fracture Treatment
Can a Fracture Heal Without a Cast?
Technically, yes. However, in order for a broken bone to heal properly without a cast, the conditions must be exactly right. In most cases, this simply does not happen. Without the help of a cast, fractures are very likely to heal improperly, and even cause more problems in the future.
The first step is to consult with a Dallas orthopedic specialist in order to determine whether or not your injury requires a cast. Many times, we recommend the use of a cast. In other cases, a splint is all you need. But what exactly happens if you skip out on the cast?
We list the possibilities below:
- The bone heals crooked or out of alignment.
- Any sharp edges of the bone cut into the surrounding muscles, tendons, and nerves.
- Permanent instability in the area.
- Longer recovery and healing times compared to recovery with a cast.
- For children, one broken arm without a cast may grow at a different rate than the non-broken arm. The same goes for legs.
- More pain and discomfort for a longer period of time than would happen with a cast.
Which is Worse: a Broken Bone or a Fracture?
These terms, broken bone and fracture, mean the same thing and are interchangeable. Both refer to a bone shattered or split in two by excessive force. While not generally life threatening, they still require immediate care and attention so as not to cause future medical problems. In fact, injuries to bones are extremely common. Over 1 million people each year fracture a bone in the United States.
Fractures generally occur when something stronger than the bone strikes it with great force. Common causes include car accidents, sports injuries, and falls. However, even repeated wear and tear on the bones eventually causes small fractures in some cases. Orthopedic specialists call these stress fractures and hairline fractures. Other causes involve infections or cancer weakening the bone. Osteoporosis in particular is a frequent source of broken bones in the elderly.
What is the Best Way to Confirm the Injury is a Fracture?
Fractures, like other injuries, have their own set of signs and symptoms. The main sign is pain, especially while moving or putting pressure on the area.
Below, we list other common symptoms of bone fractures:
- Bruising or a change in color
- Bone protruding through the skin
As always, seek medical attention immediately if you experience one or more of the above symptoms. The only true way to confirm a fracture is to speak with a doctor. During their diagnosis, your doctor will check the affected area for mobility, as well as damage to the surrounding tissue. Most doctors will order an X-ray to be absolutely sure. MRIs show the injury in greater detail in cases of small fractures. It also reveals damage to the soft tissue surrounding the bone.
Additionally, CAT scans allow even more detail for the doctor to view.
Further, the doctor will ask about how your injury occurred. They also ask about when your pain began and if it is getting worse. This provides crucial information that determines whether or not checking for other complications is necessary.
Is a Fracture a Major Injury?
This varies on a case by case basis. Fractures vary greatly in both severity and necessary treatment. The range runs from small, easily missed cracks in foot bones to excruciatingly painful and life threatening pelvis bone fractures. Open fractures break the skin and cause even more damage to the surrounding tissue, while closed fractures do not break the skin. The skin, nerves, muscles, blood vessels, and organs are all at risk when fractures occur. Some fractures complicate the healing and treatment process simply due to their severity and complexity.
Complications of Bone Fractures:
Blood Vessel Damage
In severe cases, this might lead to a significant drop in blood pressure, which sometimes leads to shock. Fracture cases where internal bleeding occurs sometimes result in this complication. Unfortunately, disrupted blood supply symptoms sometimes do not reveal themselves until significant time has passed.
When fractures occur, nerves sometimes undergo stretching, bruising, or crushing. In many cases, these nerves heal themselves over time. However, some nerves never heal. If the nerve is torn, it must undergo surgery in order to fully repair.
This is one of, if not the most common, complications that arise from bone fractures. It occurs when blood clots form in the veins, break off, travel to the lungs, and block an artery there. This results in the body not receiving enough oxygen. Hip fractures specifically have a higher chance of pulmonary embolisms.
This is rare, yet still possible. It occurs when the fat in the marrow of a longer bone dislodges and then undergoes the same process that blood clots undergo in a pulmonary embolism.
This rare development involves the swelling of injured muscles. This swelling applies pressure to nearby blood vessels, preventing blood flow to the injured area. Sometimes, these tissues sustain damage or even die.
Other Fracture Complications
Other fracture complications can include:
- Joint problems
- Uneven limbs
- Healing problems
- Osteonecrosis (part of the bone dies)
Do Walk-In Clinics Treat Broken Bones?
If the bone fracture is located in the hand, wrist, ankle, or foot, many urgent care centers have the ability to execute sufficient bone fracture treatment.
Fractures in the upper half of the body, like the ribs, sternum, spine, and skull, almost always require a trip to the ER.
At SPORT Orthopedics, we are able to treat many bone fracture injuries.
Common Fracture Areas
Bone fractures occur to people of all ages, for a variety of reasons. Certain bone fractures are far more common than others, but are different in their own ways. Depending on both the location and how the bone breaks greatly affects the bone fracture treatment.
Below, we list some of the most common types of bone fractures, as well as their treatment and recovery:
The collarbone fracture is common and often occurs in car accidents or while playing sports. Simple fractures usually need an arm sling to still the arm during the healing process. Severe fractures often require surgery, and then physical therapy.
Wrist fractures often occur as people put their hands out to catch themselves while falling. Splints, casts, and surgery are common treatments, along with physical therapy.
Ankle fractures occur during falls, car accidents, and twisting or rolls of the ankle. Some patients can still walk with a broken ankle, but they require supportive shoes, casts, or ankle surgery.
Vertebral fractures are common for those with osteoporosis. Treatment involves either rest for mild injuries or surgery for major ones.
The elderly are at risk for hip fractures. Falls generally cause them. Hip surgery helps them to heal more quickly, but bed rest and physical therapy help as well.
In adults and children, these are the most common fractures. They happen as a result of falls, vehicle accidents, or hard hits to the arm. Treatment often involves a cast, a brace, or surgery.
Shinbone fractures are also known as tibia fractures. Much force is required to break these bones. As a result, most breaks happen during car accidents. Common treatments are casts, braces, and surgery. Walkers or crutches, coupled with physical therapy, help as well.