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A fracture is a break in a bone. The severity of a fracture usually depends on the force that caused the break. Fractures commonly happen because of car accidents, falls or sports injuries. Other causes are low bone density and osteoporosis, which cause weakening of the bones. Overuse can cause stress fractures, which are very small cracks in the bone that can lead to more complicated fracture.
Symptoms of a fracture include:
- Out-of-place or misshapen limb or joint
- Swelling, bruising or bleeding
- Intense pain
- Numbness and tingling
- Limited mobility or inability to move a limb
You need to get medical care right away for any fracture. Treatment depends on the type and severity of the fracture. Some treatment options include:
- Cast immobilization – The most common type of treatment is a fiberglass or plaster cast being placed to keep the bones stable to heal properly.
- Functional cast or brace – This cast allows some movement of nearby joints.
- Traction – Aligns bones using a gentle pulling action.
- External fixation – Surgery where metal pins or screws are placed into the broken bone above and below the fracture site. The screws or pins are then connected to a metal bar outside the skin.
- Open reduction and internal fixation – Surgery where bone fragments are repositioned and then held together with screws or by attaching metal plates to the outside surface of the bone. The fragments could also be held together by inserting rods through the space in the center of the bone.