Broken bones, or fractures, are painful injuries that have a wide range in severity. Most of the time, a broken bone is caused by trauma, such as a fall, an auto accident, or other strong impact. The type of fracture, amount of pain you feel, and presence of other injuries along with the fracture should determine the course of action to take.
Types of fractures and what to do:
· Stress fracture – This is a simple break where the bone does not come out of place. It usually happens after repeated stress, as in playing sports. You may not be able to move the part of your body with the broken bone, or it may be red, swollen and sore but able to move with some pain. Call your doctor or sports medicine specialist for an appointment the same day the injury occurs. Your doctor will confirm the fracture with an X-ray and treat it by immobilizing it as needed.
· Stable fracture – A “clean” break where the bone remains aligned but there is a break across the bone. Depending on the amount of pain and whether you can move the limb or not, you should go to the ER for immediate treatment. If the pain is not extreme, you should call your primary care physician or orthopedic specialist for a same-day appointment.
· Compound fracture – If a bone breaks and there is any wound that breaks the skin, it is called an open or compound fracture. The bone may be visible through the wound, or not. This type of fracture means the bone is out of place and may be broken in more than one place. Emergency help is needed, especially considering the risk of bleeding and/or infection.
· Comminuted fracture – If a bone shatters into three or more pieces, the fracture is called comminuted. This type of fracture can occur when there is a great deal of force, like from a car accident or a bullet. Emergency attention is needed and surgery from an orthopedic physician will be necessary.
The most advanced orthopedic care in Colorado Springs is found at Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence. From professional sports medicine including the US Olympic team, to treatment of conditions such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons provide the best possible care. If you have a non-emergent broken bone, call (719) 623-1050 for a priority appointment.