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5 Types of Fractures

If you break a bone, you have what’s called a fracture. Fractures are very common. In fact, the average person experiences two in their lifetime. A fracture happens when more force is placed on a bone than the bone is able to withstand.

In broad terms, there are two types of fractures: simple and compound. Simple fractures are also called closed fractures, because the bone breaks but it doesn’t go through the skin. With a compound fracture, the bone punctures the skin.

Several factors affect your risk of experiencing a fracture, the most significant of which is your age. Children and the elderly have a higher risk of suffering fractures. In this blog, the providers at Wellington Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine explain more about the five most common types of fractures.

Types of fractures

There are many types of fractures. Here are five of the most common ones:

1. Stress fractures

Stress fractures occur as the result of repetitive strain. Examples of activities that might cause stress fractures are running and playing basketball, because both of these activities include repeatedly striking your feet against the ground. 

Stress fractures, which are small and thin, are sometimes called “hairline fractures.” Unlike other fractures, stress fractures usually only require staying off your feet long enough to allow the fractures to heal.

2. Transverse fractures

Traverse fractures are those that break straight across the bone.

3. Oblique fractures

Oblique fractures are those that break at an angle across the bone. 

4. Spiral fractures

These fractures occur in a spiral pattern around the bone. They usually occur when then bone breaks as you’re twisting.

5. Comminuted fractures

These are fractures that have breaks in three or more places. These fractures are often the result of a severe incident, such as a car accident.

Repairing fractures

If you suffer any of these types of fractures, you need emergency medical attention. Your providers will perform X-rays to determine the type of fracture you have. In some cases, particularly with closed fractures, they may try to reset the bone. If you have a closed fracture that can be reset, you may only need to wear a sling or cast.

If the bone can’t be reset, you’ll likely need surgery to repair the fracture. The provider who performs your surgery may use pins and screws to hold your bones together, and you’ll likely need to wear a cast for at least six weeks.

As your fracture heals, you’ll need to see a doctor for follow-up appointments to make sure your fracture is healing correctly. Although bone fractures can be very painful, you should be able to recover and continue your normal activities.

You should never ignore the symptoms of a bone fracture, even if it seems minor. Proper care is important for healing. After seeking emergency care, book an appointment online or over the phone with Wellington Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine to make sure your fracture heals correctly.

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