Did you know that the body has 206 bones, each of which plays an important role in providing structure and stability? As an intricate network of bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons, a stress fracture or injury to one bone can cause pain and misalignment in other areas of the body, as well. Dr. Rosemary Buckle of Houston Institute for Sports Medicine and Orthopedics treats adult and pediatric fractures with a holistic mindset that aims to get you back to the activities you love.
What are some common types of fractures?
Fractures are typically caused by trauma or impact, unhealthy repetitive motion (e.g. stress fractures), and osteoporosis. Common types of fractures include
- Stress Fracture. Tiny cracks in the bone – common in weight-bearing bones.
- Stable Fracture. The broken bone is only slightly misaligned and is likely to remain functional as it heals.
- Oblique Fracture. The fracture runs at an oblique (diagonal) angle to the bone.
- Transverse Fracture. The fracture runs across the bone horizontally.
- Comminuted Fracture. The bone shatters or breaks into three or more pieces.
- Open / Compound Fracture. The bone protrudes from the skin.
When should I call my doctor about a fracture?
It’s not uncommon for athletes to “play through” a stress fracture. When the adrenaline is pumping and you’re in the heat of the moment, pushing through might seem like the right thing to do. This is extremely dangerous. Continuing to run or compete with a fractured bone can lead to a break that may require surgery and many months away from training.
If you think you even might have a fractured bone, let your physician know. Common symptoms of fractures include:
- Bruising, swelling, or tenderness of the skin
- Obvious misalignment or unnatural curvature
- Loss of function/mobility
- Pain that worsens with movement or when pressure is applied
What fracture treatment options are available?
At Houston Institute for Sports Medicine and Orthopedics, each patient’s fracture is given special attention. With years of specialized experience in treating adult and pediatric fractures, Dr. Rosemary Buckle uses a variety of basic and advanced fracture treatment methods. Common treatment methods include:
- Cast Immobilization. Plaster and fiberglass casts are commonly used to protect a fracture and prevent further motion. This is the most common type of fracture treatment.
- Functional Cast. A functional cast allows limited mobility in nearby joints.
- Traction Splint. A traction splint is a type of splint that gently pulls the bones into place over a long period of time.
- External Fixation. In this procedure, pins or screws are fastened to the bone above and below the fracture. The pins or screws are attached to an external metal bar that holds the fractured bone in place as it heals.
- Internal Fixation. In this procedure, an intramedullary rod (a special kind of metal rod) is inserted through the marrow of the bone. The rod is used to hold the fractured bone in place.
Patients over the age of 65 are advised to undergo regular bone density scans, which screen for signs of osteoporosis. By having regular bone density scans, you can learn more about your risk for fractures.
For more information about fracture care at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine and Orthopedics – or to schedule an appointment – please contact us.