Trauma & Fractures
Bone Fractures and Trauma Care
Although bones are extremely strong, any type of trauma, bone disease, or overuse can cause them to break, or fracture. Trauma typically means some type of accident, such as a sports or work injury, fall, or motor vehicle accident. This type of trauma involves a hard impact, such as a collision or crushing force.
Bone disease, such as osteoporosis, causes the bones to become thin and brittle, which makes them much more susceptible to breaking from a fall. Hip fractures are a serious problem among the elderly population, especially in women, as they are much more likely to experience osteoporosis. According to the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, some 300,000 people age 65 and older are hospitalized for hip fractures each year.
A stress fracture is a tiny hairline break in the bone that occurs from prolonged impact or repetitive forces, such as running and jumping. They typically occur in the fibula (the smaller of the two lower leg bones) and in certain bones in the feet. Athletes who participate in sports like tennis, track and field, long-distance running, gymnastics, and basketball are highly susceptible to stress fractures.
Broken bones require medical attention to heal. If you live in San Antonio and experience a fracture, the doctors at the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine can evaluate your injury and recommend treatment.
- Wrist fractures
- Finger and thumb fractures
- Shoulder fractures
- Hip fractures
- Ankle fractures
- Foot fractures
- Knee fractures
Treatment depends on the type of fracture – partial or complete, closed or open. A closed, or simple, fracture means the bone is broken but has not punctured the skin. An open, or compound, fracture means the broken bone has pierced the skin. Fractures may further be classified in a number of different ways, depending on the location(s) within the bone, the angle of the break, the alignment of the bone, and the number of resulting bone fragments.
Many fractures can be treated without surgery. Your doctor may recommend a cast, splint, or brace to hold a fracture in the correct position while the bone is healing. If your fracture doesn’t heal properly or the doctor doesn’t think the bones will align with a cast, he may recommend surgery. The most common surgical approaches include open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) or open reduction and external fixation (OREF).
Internal fixation means that the surgeon will align the bone and secure the fracture beneath the skin using surgical hardware, such as rods, screws, or metal plates. External fixation means that your doctor will align the bone and then hold it in place using surgical pins attached to a metal frame on the outside of the skin.
Orthopedic Surgery in San Antonio, TX
If you experience any kind of fracture, call the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine immediately. Prompt attention is especially important among children, whose bones are still growing. We can be reached at (210) 692-7400 or you can request an appointment online.