There are multiple types of bone fractures that can occur in your patients. Do you wonder which type of fracture they have? Jessica from wrote a great post that can be your guide to identifying common types of fractures. 

Types of Broken Bones and How They Are Treated

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A bone fracture is a complete or partial discontinuity (crosswise, lengthwise, or in multiple pieces) of the bone. Broken bones are usually caused by sudden intense impact or pressure such as when somebody falls or gets hit. Some medical conditions, such as cancers, osteoporosis, and brittle disease can also cause bone density loss which can lead to a fracture.

Fractured bones are usually treated by icing, resting, immobilization, or surgery. Immobilization doesn’t mean you have to stay in your bed, but just avoid putting weight on the affected joint or limb. For instance, you can carry on with your daily life by using a scooter for a broken leg after a lower extremity fracture. Here are some of the most common types of broken bones and their treatments.

Avulsion fracture

This type of fracture occurs when a ligament or muscle pulls on the bone and takes out a small chunk of the bone. The ankle, hip, and elbow are the usual locations for an avulsion fracture. Treatment typically involves resting and icing the affected area. However, if the bone fragment is too far apart from the main bone, they might not fuse naturally, and surgery may be required.

Comminuted fracture

This is often the most complicated fracture where the bone is shattered into three or more pieces. The treatment is challenging as the broken pieces of the bone need to be reconnected and fixed with plates, wires, screws, or surgical nails. After the surgery, that fracture should be immobilized with a cast or plaster. These fractures usually take a while to heal completely, and surgery needs to be followed up with physical therapy to restore full range of motion.

Compression fracture

Compression fracture, also known as crush fracture or spinal compression fracture, occurs in the spongy bone in the spine. Your physician might recommend bed rest for a short period as prolonged inactivity can make the condition worse by leading to further bone loss. Surgery is very rare and is done to connect vertebra when there is any friction between them caused by motion. Usually, two vertebrae are connected using surgical screws through a tube of bone.

Fracture dislocation

In fracture dislocation, a joint becomes dislocated, or one of the bones in the joined gets fractured. The physician will try to gently move your bones back into original position, which can be painful so anesthesia might be administered. Once the bones are back in their place, the joined is immobilized for several weeks using a sling or splint. Surgery is only done when the physician is not able to move the bones back into their position, or when any of the ligaments have also been damaged. To fully restore your joint, rehab exercises might be required after the splint is removed.

Greenstick fracture

Common among children, greenstick fracture, occurs when the bone doesn’t break completely, but only a part of it fractures on one side. These fractures have a higher risk of breaking the bone completely, so the fractured area is usually immobilized using a cast or removable splint. X-rays are performed regularly to make sure that the bone is healing correctly.

Hairline fracture

A hairline fracture is a partial, lengthwise fracture. Just as the name suggests, the fracture is so small that sometimes it's hard to detect. For faster recovery, bones weight-bearing load has to be minimized. The hairline fracture is usually treated by rest and icing the affected joint. Surgery for a hairline fracture is extremely uncommon, however, any activity should be resumed very slowly and carefully.

Author Biography

Jessica Hegg is the content manager at  Avid gym-rat and nutrition enthusiast, she’s interested in all things related to staying active and living healthy lifestyle. Through her writing she works to share valuable information aimed at overcoming obstacles and improving the quality of life for others.

AuthorCourtney Tracy