Broken Bones

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Broken Bones

A broken bone is a common orthopedic event. The average adult will have experienced two fractures in their life. Around 6.8 million people in the United States suffer some sort of broken bone each year. [ (Cluett, 2004) ] A bone break or fracture, happens when an external force is applied to a bone and causes it to fail. A fracture, crack, or break is all the same thing and one is not worse than the other. These terms are all interchangeable, but they have been erroneously assigned to different severities of the same thing. A bone may break when it is subjected to a direct blow or a twisting force. There are different types of fractures that can occur. These types of fractures do differ in severity and can be classified as one being worse than the other. Some of the major types of fractures are greenstick, spiral, comminuted, transverse, and compound. A fracture is also classified as being an opened or closed fracture. Open or closed refers to whether the skin in the vicinity of the fracture is intact or not. If the skin over the break is disrupted, it is considered an open fracture and there is a much higher possibility that an infection may occur. These may also be called compound (open) or simple (closed) fractures. Diagnosis and treatment of fractures is fairly straightforward. Fractures generally do not lend themselves to being hard to diagnose. Some of the symptoms of a fracture may include pain, swelling, bruising, and not being able to move the area or bear weight on it. If the fracture is not immediately obvious, an x-ray will generally find the fracture. If the fracture cannot be found with an x-ray, other imaging tests may be needed. Treatment of a fracture is based upon the type and severity of the injury. Treatment can range from a simple splint to invasive orthopedic surgery. Most fractures are immobilized to allow the bone to heal. If the bone is severely fractured, screws, plates, and rods may be needed to hold the bone together....
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