What is a broken bone (fracture)?
Bones make up the skeleton of the body. They allow us the ability to interact with our environment and lift out body up against gravity. Bones are attachment points for muscles which allows us to run, jump, sit, kneel, grasp, and lift. Bones also protect organs from potential damage, and the bone marrow (tissue inside of bones) is responsible for blood cell production.
Bones are the body’s storage area for calcium. On a cellular level, calcium is always entering and exiting bone under the influence of the body’s hormones. Parathyroid hormone increases calcium levels in the bloodstream, meaning, that it regulates it’s release by bone and decreasing bone density. Calcitonin decreases blood calcium levels and helps restore calcium to bone. Calcium is needed in the blood stream to help muscle cells including the heart to function. Hormone levels will sacrifice calcium in bone to maintain blood calcium levels in a normal range. For that reason, calcium and Vitamin D are important to maintain calcium stores in the body.
What Causes Broken Bones?
Bones are very strong and are designed to absorb a shock if you fall or are in an accident, but your bones can only absorb so much pressure before breaking. A broken bone commonly occurs for one of the following reasons:
- injury from a car accident or athletic event
- intentional injury, if another person strikes or pushes you
- child abuse
- falls from heights or falls on ice or other unsafe surfaces
- overuse, particularly if you run or participate in sports
- osteoporosis, a disease that causes bones to weaken in older adults
Types of Bone Fractures
A bone fracture can range from a tiny crack in one spot to multiple complete breaks. Doctors use different terms to describe these types of fractured bones:
Green stick. A green stick fracture is a crack on one side of a bone that does not go all the way through.
Complete. A complete fracture is one that goes all the way through the bone.
Stress. A stress fracture is a hairline crack that occurs from overuse. Minor leg fracture symptoms often occur from stress fractures.
Compression. A compression fracture is when a bone collapses. This type of fracture usually occurs in the bones of the spine.
Open. An open fracture is a fracture that has broken the skin. These are also called compound fractures.
Com-minuted. A comminuted fracture means that the bone is broken in more than one place.
5 Possible Condition of Condition
Broken Skin and Protruding Bone
A bone protruding from the skin can occur in severe breaks and is an emergency situation. The protruding bone is not only extremely painful but may be at risk for infection if not treated properly.
The area around a broken bone will usually swell due to bleeding in the surrounding tissue. Swelling usually lasts between two and three weeks.
Often, a bruise will appear at the site of the break or fracture.
Though the bone itself has no pain receptors, a broken bone usually leads to severe pain due to swelling of the surrounding soft tissues and a break in the membrane that lines the outer surface of the bone. Muscle spasms, nerve or vessel damage, and other damage from the injury may also cause pain.
A broken bone usually leads to limited to mobility in the area affected.
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