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Fractures/Broken Bones

What are the types of broken bones and fractures and what are their symptoms?

An X-ray showing a broken arm bone.
A fracture is a type of injury resulting in a crack or break in one or more bones. The bone may break in multiple directions, locations, and pieces, as well as be partially or completely broken. Millions of people worldwide, from young children to older adults, are subject to broken bones. Though broken bones heal with time, it can take several months for a full recovery.

Broken bones are categorized by medical professionals based on physical characteristics and features seen on imaging tests. A broken bone or fracture may produce obvious, life-threatening symptoms or no symptoms at all, depending on the severity of the injury and the affected bone. 

These categories of fractures include:

Closed and open fractures

A closed fracture is a type of broken bone that does not break through the skin upon injury, while an open fracture is a type of fracture where the bone penetrates through the skin and becomes exposed to the outer elements. Approximately 1 in 120 people experience a broken bone with only 3 percent of these being an open fracture, otherwise known as a compound fracture.

Partial and complete fractures

Partial fractures are a type of broken bone that does not go all the way through the bone, whereas a complete fracture leaves the bone completely broken into at least two separate pieces, if not more.

Displaced fractures

When a displaced fracture occurs, the ends of the affected bone come out of alignment. As a result, the bone will not properly heal without the bone being reset by a licensed professional to ensure adequate blood flow, circulation, and feeling in the limb.

Stress fractures

Partial fractures are a type of broken bone that does not go all the way through the bone, whereas a complete fracture leaves the bone completely broken into at least two separate pieces, if not more.

Risk factors

Risk factors contributing to the risk of broken bones include:

Smoking

Smoking impacts hormone levels in a person and may even force women into early menopause. Because hormone levels are altered, the body is unable to adequately store necessary vitamins and minerals, leading to premature bone loss.

Heavy or frequent drinking

Smoking impacts hormone levels in a person and may even force women into early menopause. Because hormone levels are altered, the body is unable to adequately store necessary vitamins and minerals, leading to premature bone loss.

Use of steroids

Steroid use, like corticosteroids, frequently prescribed by physicians, compromises bone health when used long-term. Steroids are often used to treat inflammation within the body, especially in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Though these medications alleviate symptoms of chronic conditions, they leave a person at an increased risk of bone loss.

Chronic medical conditions

Type 1 Diabetes, Celiac disease, Crohn's disease, and Rheumatoid arthritis affect the way a person’s GI tract absorbs and stores vital nutrients like calcium - a strong bone source. In addition, those suffering from these conditions rely heavily on steroid medications for relief.

Symptoms of broken bones

Many symptoms reported include:
Sudden, severe pain
An obvious, abnormal bend, bump, or twist          
Difficulty using the affected limb 
Tenderness
Swelling 
Redness  
Bruising 
Unable to bear weight (often with a broken foot or leg)
An obvious deformity
A protruding bone (open fracture)

What are the common causes of fractures and broken bones?

When an amount of force is applied to a bone that is more than the bone can sustain, a fracture or broken bone occurs. Many things can cause a broken bone, and there are also many factors that may contribute to a loss of bone density that leaves a person more susceptible to a break.

The three most common causes of broken bones include:

Trauma

When extreme force is applied to a bone, a traumatic fracture or broken bone is likely to occur as the bone is met with more force than it can bear. Common types of trauma include falls, contact sports injuries like during football, hockey, or basketball, and car accidents. Depending on the amount and direction of force, a traumatic fracture may be displaced, which requires immediate medical attention to decrease the risk of further damage.

Overuse

When extreme force is applied to a bone, a traumatic fracture or broken bone is likely to occur as the bone is met with more force than it can bear. Common types of trauma include falls, contact sports injuries like during football, hockey, or basketball, and car accidents. Depending on the amount and direction of force, a traumatic fracture may be displaced, which requires immediate medical attention to decrease the risk of further damage.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens the bones over time, making them easier to break. As this disease progresses, it leaves bones so weak and brittle that the simplest notion of coughing or bending over to retrieve something off of the ground can result in a fracture.

What is the treatment for fractures?

Initial Treatment Stage:

Treatment for a broken bone or fracture depends heavily on the type of break and whether or not tissue or nerves surrounding the break are compromised. Traditional treatment for a closed fracture is cast or splint immobilization using plaster or fiberglass material. Casting allows the bone to be held securely in place after being set by a physician and provides hard protection on all sides.
A man with a broken arm in a cast and sling.

Can a chiropractor help with fractures or broken bones?

While conventional treatment to heal a broken bone focuses on setting, securing, and maintaining proper placement of the bone during healing, what about once the bone has healed? Months in a cast can leave the affected area weaker than the opposite limb as it has not been used for daily activities.

Chiropractic care after a broken bone focuses on increasing mobility of the affected limb, strengthening muscles, and improving flexibility. At Accident Care Chiropractic, we strive to provide healing movements through adjustments and alignment fixes that allow your body to produce healing nutrients.

Seeking chiropractic help following a broken bone or fracture has many benefits including:
A speedy recovery
Reduced pain naturally
Relieve muscle tension                         

Visiting Accident Care Chiropractic

With 15 locations throughout Oregon and Washington, the Accident Care Chiropractic team can help from anywhere! Our board-certified Chiropractors specialize in accident-related injuries including traumatic injuries and broken bones. An injury following a traumatic car accident is not always apparent, so seeking a consultation from a skilled chiropractor can help diagnose undetected injuries and prevent future ones.

The musculoskeletal system provides the entire human body with support and stability, so it is essential to care for it properly. Chiropractic treatment focuses on treating disorders involving the bones, cartilage, connective tissue, ligaments, and tendons naturally rather than masking the symptoms with medication.

Whether you or a loved one have experienced a recent injury or are interested in preventative care, contact us today to see how we can help naturally improve your daily life following a fracture or broken bone.

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