Strong bones help us lead a healthy and active lifestyle. Through proper diet and regular exercise, we can maintain good bone health. However, we can still experience incidents beyond our control, such as a high-impact fall or a car accident, which can cause one or more broken bones.
Bone fractures tend to happen most often while playing sports or traveling. They can also be a side effect of an underlying medical condition, such as cancer or severe osteoporosis (bone weakening due to aging).
How Are Bone Fractures Diagnosed?
A doctor will confirm a fracture by performing at least one of the following tests:
- X-ray. Most fractures are detected via X-ray, which produces images of the internal bone tissues. If the break is a hairline fracture, an X-ray may not be able to pick it up – so the doctor may order an additional type of scan that shows greater detail.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). For smaller fractures and stress fractures, a doctor may order an MRI to generate more detailed images. A main benefit of MRI is that it does not use radiation.
- Bone Scan. Used for fractures which are difficult to locate, a bone scan is a procedure wherein an injected agent emits gamma radiation that is detected by the scanner.
- Computed Tomography Scan (CT scan). More detailed than an X-ray, a CT scan is a noninvasive diagnostic imaging technique that shows cross-sectional images of the body.
Medical Treatments for a Broken Bone
The type of treatment you will receive depends on the kind, location, and severity of your fracture:
Cast or Splint
A bone fracture is commonly treated with a cast, which protects injured bones and joints by immobilizing the affected area and by holding the bone in place until it heals. Doctors might also recommend a cast for post-op treatment after having orthopedic surgery.
Casts, which provide more support than splints, are usually made from fiberglass or plaster. They can be easily formed by the doctor into a shape that supports the injured arm or leg.
On the other hand, splints or half-casts are easier to use and provide more freedom of movement than do full casts. They can be adjusted, depending on the swelling of the injured area. Splints may also replace a cast once the fracture becomes less swollen, the bone is close to being fully healed, and the cast loosens naturally.
In severe cases such as hip fractures, the doctor might perform emergency surgery on the broken bone. During the surgery, small metal devices will be fastened to the bone fragments to stabilize them and to hold the bone in place so that it heals properly. The doctor may also use bone grafts.
Fracture Treatment in San Antonio, TX
Bone injuries can cause severe pain and sudden disability. Here at the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, our physicians can help relieve your pain and restore your range of motion. Visit us to receive prompt diagnosis and treatment options.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us today at (210) 692-7400 or fill out our online form. We look forward to serving you!