Broken Bones

Broken Bones

Bone fracture or fracture is a condition when a bone breaks so that the shape or even the position changes. A fracture can occur if the bone receives pressure or an impact that is greater than the strength of the bone.

Bone fractures can occur in any part of the body, but more often occur in the bones of the  legs  hands  hips , ribs and  collarbones . Although it is generally caused by a strong impact, bone fractures can also occur as a result of a light impact when the bones have already experienced decay, for example due to  osteoporosis .

Types of Fractures

Based on the condition, fractures can be divided into several types, namely:

1. Closed fracture

A closed fracture is a type of fracture where the broken bone does not tear the skin.

2. Open fracture

An open fracture is the opposite of a closed fracture. This condition occurs when the tip of the broken bone tears the skin so that the tissue under the skin and the broken bone becomes visible.

3. Incomplete fracture

An incomplete fracture is a condition in which the bone is not broken completely or does not divide the bone into two or more parts, but only cracks. Incomplete fractures are divided into the following types:

  • Hairline fracture or  stress fracture , which is when the bone experiences a thin crack resembling a hairline
  • Greenstick fracture , which is when one side of the bone is cracked and bent
  • Buckle or  torus fracture , that is when the broken bone does not separate the two sides of the bone, in this condition the side of the fractured bone will protrude

4. Complete fracture

A complete fracture is a condition where the bone breaks into two or more parts. Complete fractures are further divided into:

  • Single fracture , which is when a bone in one part of the body breaks into two parts
  • Comminuted fracture , which is when a bone breaks or breaks into three or more parts
  • Compression fracture , which is when a bone is crushed or destroyed due to pressure
  • Displaced fracture , which is when the bone breaks into pieces and comes out of its original place
  • Nondisplaced fracture , which is when the bone breaks into pieces but does not come out of its original place
  • Segmental fracture , that is when a bone breaks into two parts that are not connected to each other so that there is a part of the bone that appears to be floating
  • Avulsion fracture , that is when a bone fracture occurs near a tendon or ligament, so that the tendon or ligament will pull a small piece of broken bone away from the main bone

Causes of Bone Fractures

A fracture occurs when the bone receives a greater pressure than the bone can accept. The greater the pressure received by the bone, generally the greater the severity of the fracture.

Conditions that can result in bone fractures, among others:

  • Injuries from falls, accidents, or fights
  • Injuries due to repeated impacts, for example when rowing or exercising
  • Diseases that can weaken bones, such as osteoporosis, genetic abnormalities that cause brittle bones (osteogenesis imperfecta), bone infections ( osteomyelitis ), and  bone cancer

Fracture risk factors

Fractures can happen to anyone, but people with the following factors are more at risk:

  • Advanced age
  • Females, especially those over 50 years old
  • Lack of nutritional intake, especially  calcium  and  vitamin D
  • Have a less active lifestyle or  sedentary lifestyle
  • Having a  habit of smoking  and consuming alcoholic beverages
  • Taking  corticosteroid drugs  for a long period of time
  • Suffering  from rheumatoid arthritis , diabetes mellitus, digestive tract disorders, or  endocrine gland disorders

Bone Fracture Symptoms

The main symptom of a broken bone is severe pain in the area of ​​the broken bone. The pain will worsen when the part of the body that has a broken bone is moved.

In general, the symptoms that can arise when someone suffers a broken bone are:

  • Severe pain in the fractured area
  • Bruising  and swelling in the injured area
  • The bone protrudes from the skin, in an open fracture
  • Tingling  and numbness in the fractured area
  • It is difficult to move a part of the body that has a broken bone
  • Deformity or the presence of a difference in shape in the area that suffered a fracture

When should you go to the doctor?

A broken bone is an emergency condition that must be dealt with immediately. Immediately seek medical help from a doctor if you or someone around you suffers a broken bone. Immediate treatment in the hospital's emergency department (IGD) is required if:

  • There was heavy bleeding
  • Bones sticking out of the skin
  • There is great pain even if you only move a little
  • The fractured area is severely damaged
  • Fractures occur in the head, neck, or back
  • Broken bones cause loss of consciousness

Fracture Diagnosis

To diagnose a fracture, the doctor will first ask the patient about symptoms, disease history, and injury history. After that, the doctor will perform a physical examination on the part of the body that has a broken bone.

During the examination, the doctor will look at the injured area of ​​the body, touch and move the area or part of the body that is suspected of having a fracture.

In order to confirm the diagnosis and see the severity of the fracture, the doctor will perform a scan, for example with  X- ray , CT scan, and  MRI . Blood tests and  bone density tests  can also be done to find out if there are other diseases that increase the risk of bone fractures.

Fracture Treatment

Fracture treatment depends on the type experienced, the location of the broken bone, and the patient's condition. The purpose of treatment is to return the broken bone to its original position, and keep it stable until new bone is formed to connect the broken bone.

In the case of a fracture that causes severe bleeding, first aid will be done by the doctor to stabilize the patient's condition so that he does not fall into a state of shock.

Fracture treatment methods include:

  • Administration of drugs, to relieve pain and prevent infection in open fractures
  • Plaster installation  made of plaster or fiberglass  , to prevent the broken bone from moving during the healing process
  • Traction , to align the broken bone and stretch the surrounding muscles and tendons
  • Operation, to connect broken bones using special pens , plates , screws , and  rods 

Fracture patients can heal in a matter of months or years, depending on the severity, age, and risk factors the patient has. Patients who have broken bones are required to perform check-ups according to the schedule given by the doctor to monitor the condition of the broken bones.

Fracture Complications

Untreated fractures can cause mild to severe complications, depending on the part of the body that suffered the fracture. The complications include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding that can cause  hypovolemic shock
  • Compartment syndrome
  • Improper bone union process (malunion)
  • A broken bone cannot unite again (nonunion)
  • Damage to nerves and blood vessels
  • Tissue death ( avascular necrosis )
  • Rhabdomyolysis
  • Permanent disability

Fracture Prevention

Bone fractures cannot always be prevented, but there are several things that can reduce the risk of a person suffering from a bone fracture, namely:

  • Use safety equipment when driving, such as a seat belt when driving a car, or a helmet when riding a motorbike
  • Creating a safe home environment for all family members
  • Wear protective equipment when doing sports that involve impact or sports that have a high risk of falling
  • Perform routine exercises to maintain body balance and increase bone strength, especially in osteoporosis sufferers
  • Consult a doctor about the need for nutrition or supplements to maintain bone health
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