Bone fractures are a common orthopedic injury, especially in active people. They can happen to anyone — even in people who aren’t playing sports. Any serious bump, impact, or physical injury can result in a bone fracture. While bone fracture treatments are generally safe and effective, all medical procedures have some risks.
Let’s take a closer look.
Understanding Bone Fractures and Their Treatments
Bone fractures occur when more force is applied to the bone than it can absorb. This injury can happen in various situations, including falls, impacts during sports, and car accidents. You can also get them by bumping into things too hard.
There are several common treatments for bone fractures, each suited to different types of fractures. These include:
- Casting or splinting: A plaster or fiberglass cast or splint immobilizes the broken bone after it is set to heal correctly.
- Traction:A system of pulleys and weights that aligns the bone to ensure it heals correctly.
- External fixation: A minimally-invasive procedure where an orthopedist inserts pins or screws the broken bone above and below the fracture site. This method stabilizes the bone, and the external scaffold ensures that it heals correctly.
- Surgery: In extreme or severe cases, an orthopedist may use metal plates, pins, or screws to hold the bone together while it heals. This may also involve a bone replacement, particularly if a joint is damaged.
General Risks Associated with Bone Fracture Treatment
All medical treatments carry some risks, and bone fracture treatments are no exception. Some of the general risks associated with these treatments include:
- Infection: Any break in the skin, such as a surgical wound, can lead to an infection. However, medical facilities perform several preparations to ensure that no infection occurs during your treatment. It’s vital to keep any wounds clean after your receive treatment.
- Blood clots: Immobilization after a fracture increases the risk of developing blood clots in the deep veins of the legs, which can be life-threatening if they travel to the lungs.
- Reaction to anesthesia: If surgery is required, there is always an allergy risk associated with anesthesia. These reactions may be minor to severe. It’s critical to inform your healthcare provider of any allergies you have before receiving treatment.
Generally, these risks are easy to mitigate. Experienced physicians at reputable medical facilities take precautions to ensure that the most common complications associated with fracture treatment don’t occur.
Specific Risks Related to Different Treatments
Different treatments carry specific risks:
- Casting and splinting:Wearing a cast for a long time can result in skin irritation or skin damage. Patients unable to move for a long time may experience muscle atrophy due to disuseand joint stiffness.
- Traction: Patients may experience nerve injury or problems with circulation.
- External fixation: It’s possible for pin sites to get infected, especially if they aren’t kept clean.
These complications typically occur as a result of improperly following the treatment plan or due to unforeseen difficulties. It’s vital that patients communicate any concerns they have to their doctor as soon as possible.
Long-Term Risks of Bone Fracture Treatment
In addition to immediate risks, there are some long-term risks associated with bone fracture treatments:
- Chronic pain: Some patients may experience persistent pain at the fracture site, even after a completely successful procedure.
- Decreased mobility or range of motion: Depending on the location and severity of the fracture, patients may experience long-term effects on their movement and flexibility.
- Arthritis: If a fracture involves a joint, there is a higher chance the patient may eventually develop arthritis in that joint.
Reducing the Risks of Bone Fracture Treatment
While these risks may seem daunting, there are steps both you and your healthcare provider can take to minimize them, such as:
- Follow post-treatment care instructions: Proper care of the fracture site and any surgical wounds is crucial in preventing infection.
- Engage in physical therapy: Physical therapy can help the injured region regain strength and mobility, lowering the risk of long-term problems.
- Regular follow-ups: Regular check-ins with your healthcare provider ensure they catch and address any complications early, while they’re still easy to treat.
Your doctor will work with you to devise a treatment plan that covers any surgical risks you may face. Following this treatment plan is usually the best way to ensure that your bone fracture heals smoothly. It’s also vital that you communicate any and all of your concerns to your doctor immediately.
Bone Fracture Treatment Near Me in San Antonio, TX
Bone fractures aren’t unusual, and medical science has advanced such that treatments for them are generally safe, effective, and likely won’t have any side effects if you follow your treatment plan. But it’s a good idea to be aware of any possible problems you could encounter when receiving treatment or therapy for your injury.
At the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery for Sports Medicine, our orthopedists have a great deal of expertise treating orthopedic injuries and conditions. Come visit us if you need help with a bone fracture or any other orthopedic issue.
You can call us at (210) 692-7400. Alternatively, visit our website and requestan appointment online.