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- Avulsion fracture, bone fractures, callus, cast, comminuted fracture, compound fracture, compression fracture, computerized tomography, CT, deep vein thrombosis, DVT, first aid, fractures, greenstick facture, hp fracture, magnetic resonance imaging, MRI, non-union of fractures, orthopedic, osteoporosis, pathological fracture, plaster of paris, pulmonary embolism, rib fracture, skeletal system, skull fracture, stress fracture, wrist fracture, X-ray.
- A fracture or broken bone occurs when a force exerted against a bone is stronger than it can structurally withstand. A bone fracture is a medical condition in which a bone is cracked or broken. While many fractures are the result of high force impact or stress, bone fracture may also occur as a result of certain medical conditions that weaken the bones, such as osteoporosis or certain types of cancer. Bone healing or fracture healing is a process in which the body facilitates the repair of bone fractures.
- Fractures are among the most common orthopedic (bone-related) problems. About 6.8 million fractures receive medical attention each year in the United States. The average citizen in a developed country can expect to sustain two fractures over the course of their lifetime.
- Fractures of the extremities (such as arms, wrist, leg, and ankle) are the most common, and usually occur in men younger than age 45, and then become more common in women over age 45. The reason for the difference is that when women go through menopause, and stop producing estrogen, the rate of bone loss increases. Estrogen helps improve bone density. This is why women are particularly susceptible to osteoporosis (a disease causing bones to become thin and brittle) and subsequent fractures. The most common fracture prior to age 75 is a wrist fracture. In those over age 75, hip fractures become the most common broken bone.
- The skeletal system serves many important functions, including providing shape and form for bodies in addition to supporting, protecting, allowing bodily movement, producing blood for the body, and storing minerals. The skeletal system is comprised of 206 bones that form a rigid framework. Soft tissues (such as ligaments and tendons) are attached to bones. Vital organs are also protected by the skeletal system. For example, the brain is protected by the surrounding skull and the heart and lungs are encased by the sternum and rib cage.
- Bones form the skeleton of the body supporting it against gravity allowing a person to move and function in the world. Bone contains the bone marrow, the soft tissue found in the hollow interior of bones. Bone marrow is used in the production of blood cells, such as red and white blood cells.
- Blood cells are produced by the marrow located in bones. An average of 2.6 million red blood cells is produced each second by the bone marrow to replace those damaged.
- Bones also serve as a storage area for minerals such as calcium and phosphorus. When an excess is present in the blood, buildup will occur within the bones. When the supply of these minerals within the blood is low, it will be withdrawn from the bones to replenish the supply. Excess calcium may result in health conditions such as kidney stones. Excess phosphorus may deplete calcium from the bones and body.
- Bone fractures are diagnosed with X-rays. CT (computerized tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans may also be used. Broken bones heal by themselves; the aim of medical treatment is to make sure the two pieces are lined up correctly. Subsequent X-rays are taken to monitor the bone's healing progress.
- X-ray: X-rays are low doses of radiation that create an image of a body part, organ, or bodily system on film paper or fluorescent screens. X-rays show the alignment of the spine and may reveal degenerative joint disease, fractures, or tumors.
- Computed tomography (CT) scan:
Computerized tomography (CT) scan is an X-ray that uses computer technology and can be enhanced with the injection of a contrast dye into a vein. CT scans allow for multiple X-rays to be taken from different angles in the body where the pain is located to create a three-dimensional image of internal body structures. CT is used to show abnormalities in bones and soft tissue. CT scan can be used for individuals who are unable to tolerate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI):
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests uses a powerful magnet to produce images on a computer screen and film. MRI scans provide clear images of disc deterioration, pathologies of the spinal cord, spinal stenosis, herniated discs, spinal tumors, bone fractures, and abnormalities in nerves and ligaments. MRIs are conducted in a small, confined area and some individuals may find this uncomfortable. Some individuals may have to be sedated using a mild sedative such as alprazolam (Xanax®) or lorazepam (Ativan®). If the individual is sedated, transportation should be organized using a family member or friend.
- Every fracture carries the risk of failing to heal and resulting in a non-union, when a bone does not heal. Most non-unions require surgery. Some of the causes of non-union of a bone fracture includes: infection, inadequate blood supply to the bone, and incorrect splinting of the fracture.
- Blood loss: Bones have a rich blood supply and a bad break can result in substantial blood loss. The circulatory system extends into bones, directly supplying the bone cells and bone marrow. Blood cells are formed within bone marrow. The bone marrow contains special cells called stem cells, which produce the body's red blood cells and platelets. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body's tissues, and platelets help with blood clotting when a person has a cut or wound.
- Injuries to organs: Injuries to organs such as the brain (in the case of skull fractures) or chest organs (if a rib breaks) can occur.
- Infection: Bone infection (osteomyelitis) can occur in an open fracture. The bone may be exposed to fungi and bacteria that cause infection.
- Growth problems: The fractured long bone of a young child may not grow to its intended adult length if the injury is close to a joint, since bone fuses when it heals. The growth plate is the area of developing tissue near the end of the long bones in children. Each long bone has at least one growth plate at each end. When growth is complete during adolescence, the growth plates are replaced by solid bone. Injuries may occur in children and adolescents. The growth plate is the weakest area of the growing skeleton and a serious injury to a joint is more likely to damage a growth plate than the ligaments around it. An injury that would cause a sprain in an adult can be a potentially serious growth plate injury in a young child.
- Pain: Bone fractures may cause severe pain. Individuals should stay in close contact with their healthcare providers to ensure that their medications are properly managing the pain. In some cases, the medication or dosage may need to be changed.
- First aid: Suggestions for immediate treatment of a suspected bone fracture include not moving the individual unless there is an immediate danger, especially in the case of a suspected fracture of the skull, spine, ribs, pelvis, or upper leg, due to the chances of nerve damage and signal cord injury or risking further injury to organs and blood vessels. It is best to attend to any bleeding wounds first. Healthcare professionals recommend stopping the bleeding by pressing firmly on the site with a clean dressing. If a bone is protruding, apply pressure around the edges of the wound. If bleeding is controlled, keep the wound covered with a clean dressing. Do not attempt to straighten broken bones. For limb fractures, provide support and comfort such as a pillow under the lower leg or forearm. However do not cause further pain or unnecessary movement of the broken bone.
- Bone immobilization: Depending on the site of the fracture and the severity of the injury, bone immobilization treatment options may include splints, slings, braces, plaster cast, and traction. Surgically inserted metal rods or plates (to hold the bone pieces together) may also be used, along with medications for pain relief.
- A splint may be needed to support the limb. A splint is a medical device for the immobilization of limbs or of the spine. Splints and casts support and protect injured bones and soft tissue, reducing pain, swelling, and muscle spasm.
- A brace is a medical device that provides restraint and limits the motion of the affected area or joint, such as the knee. A brace permits weight bearing ambulation of the individual during healing of leg fractures or other traumas.
- A sling for an arm may be needed to immobilize the area. A sling is a wrap (cotton or other material) placed around the neck and the arm for immobilization. If possible, elevate the fractured area and apply a cold pack to reduce swelling and pain. In an emergency, dial 911 for an ambulance.
- Traction is the use of a pulling force to treat muscle and skeleton disorders, such as fractures. Traction is usually applied to the arms and legs, the neck, the backbone, or the pelvis. It is used to treat fractures, dislocations, and long-duration muscle spasms, and to prevent or correct deformities. Traction can either be short-term, as at an accident scene, or long-term, when it is used in a hospital setting. Traction serves several purposes: it aligns the ends of a fracture by pulling the limb into a straight position; it ends muscle spasm; it relieves pain; and it takes the pressure off the bone ends by relaxing the muscle.
- The function of a cast is to rigidly protect an injured bone or joint. Casts are usually made of either plaster or fiberglass material. A cast serves to hold the broken bone in proper alignment to prevent it from moving while it heals. Casts may also be used to help rest a bone or joint to relieve pain that is caused by moving it (such as when a severe sprain occurs, but no broken bones). Different types of casts and splints are available, depending on the reason for the immobilization and/or the type of fracture.
- A plaster cast is made from rolls or pieces of dry muslin that have starch or dextrose and calcium sulfate added. When the plaster gets wet, a chemical reaction happens (between the water and the calcium sulfate) that produces heat and eventually causes the plaster to set, or get hard, when it dries. A person can usually feel the cast getting warm on the skin from this chemical reaction as it sets. The temperature of the water used to wet the plaster affects the rate at which the cast sets. When colder water is used, it takes longer for the plaster to set, and a smaller amount of heat is produced from the chemical reaction. Plaster casts are usually smooth and white. The cast typically begins to feel hard about 10-15 minutes after it is put on, but it takes much longer to be fully dry and hard. It is especially important to be careful with the cast for the first one to two days because it can easily crack or break while it is drying and hardening. It can take up to 24-48 hours for the cast to completely harden.
- Cast placement depends on the location and severity of the fracture. During surgery with a closed or simple fracture, the two ends of the broken bone are lined up and held in place. The limb is thoroughly bandaged then the wet plaster is applied. Sometimes, once the plaster is dry, the cast is split into two and the two halves are then re-bandaged on the outside. This allows room for any swelling that may occur. An open or compound fracture has to be thoroughly cleansed in the operating room to remove debris prior to being set because a broken bone exposed to the open air is at increased risk of infection. Long bones (such as the thigh, or femur bone), are difficult to keep aligned and, in adults, are generally treated by surgically inserted metal rods, pins, or plates.
- Healthcare professionals recommend: until the cast has properly set, avoid direct heat such as hot water bottles (heat may cause the plaster not to harden); rest the limb as much as possible to promote healing; use the techniques directed by nursing staff to walk or manage day-to-day activities. The use of crutches incorrectly may result in further damage; and avoid any lifting or driving until the fracture has healed. If itching is experienced, do not put anything inside the cast between the cast and the limb,. Instead, use a hairdryer to blow cool air into the cast. Avoid getting the cast wet, as wet plaster becomes soft and does not provide the necessary support. Wet plaster can also cause skin irritation. When showering, wrap the cast in a plastic bag and tape it directly to the skin, keeping the area water-tight. Healthcare professionals recommend seeking immediate medical help if swelling, blueness or loss of movement of the fingers or toes, sensations of pins and needles in the affected area, numbness, or increased pain occur.
- Long-term outlook: In most cases, the cast can be removed after a few weeks but the limb must be handled with care for at least the next month or so. Leg fractures will take several months to heal. Muscles may be diminished in size or strength due to lack of use and may need rehabilitation, including strengthening exercises to recover from their immobilization.
- Surgery: Surgery on fractures are very much dependent on what bone is broken, where it is broken, and whether the orthopedic surgeon believes that the break is at risk for movement once the bone fragments have been aligned. If the surgeon is concerned that the bones will heal improperly, an operation will be needed. Sometimes bones that appear to be aligned normally are splinted, and at a recheck appointment, are found to be unstable and require surgery. Signs of poor bone healing may include pain and uneven or protruding bone surfaces at the point of healing.
- Surgery can include closed reduction and casting, where the bones are manipulated under anesthesia so that alignment is restored. Reduction is a procedure to position bone and bone fragments into proper position. A plaster cast is placed to hold the bones after the alignment. A bone fracture may also need surgically inserted metal rods, pins, or plates. Open reduction means that, in the operating room, the skin is cut open and pins, plates, or rods are inserted into the bone to hold it in place until healing occurs. Depending on the fracture, some of these pieces of metal are permanent (never removed), and some are temporary until the healing of the bone is complete and surgically removed at a later time.
- Surgical methods of treating fractures have their own risks and benefits, but usually surgery is done only if conservative treatment has failed or is very likely to fail. With some fractures, such as hip fractures, surgery is offered routinely because the complications of non-operative treatment include deep vein thrombosis (DVT, or blood clot in the legs) and pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs. These complications may occur due to a stagnation of blood in the veins caused by prolonged immobility, which can promote blood clot formation in veins. When a joint surface is damaged by a fracture, surgery is also commonly recommended to make an accurate anatomical reduction and restore the smoothness of the joint. Prosthetic body parts, such as hip joints, may also be needed.
- Pain control: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been used to relieve pain and inflammation caused by musculoskeletal problems. Commonly used over-the-counter NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin®) and naproxen sodium (Aleve®). Higher doses of these drugs are also available by prescription. Commonly prescribed NSAIDs include diclofenac (Cataflam® or Voltaren®), nabumetone (Relafen®), and ketoprofen (Orudis®). NSAIDs may be taken by mouth, injected into a vein, or applied to the skin.
- The frequency and severity of side effects from NSAIDs vary. The most common side effects include: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, decreased appetite, rash, dizziness, headache, and drowsiness. The most serious side effects include: kidney failure, liver failure, ulcers, heart-related problems, and prolonged bleeding after an injury or surgery. About 15% of patients who receive long-term NSAID treatment develop ulcers in the stomach or duodenum.
- Narcotic pain relievers, such as
acetaminophen/codeine (Tylenol with Codeine®), hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Lorcet®, Lortab®, or Vicodin®), or oxycodone (OxyContin® or Roxicodone®), may be prescribed to treat bone fracture pain. However, they do not reduce swelling. These medications are only used short-term to treat flare-ups. Common side effects include: constipation, drowsiness, dry mouth, and difficulty urinating. Narcotic pain relievers should be used cautiously because individuals may become addicted to them.
- This information has been edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. . Accessed March 6, 2009.
- Hamera-Slynarska M. Pharmacological support of bone fracture healing. Ortop Traumatol Rehabil. 2000 Sep 30;2(3):63-5.
- McCann RM, Colleary G, Geddis C, et al. Effect of osteoporosis on bone mineral density and fracture repair in a rat femoral fracture model. J Orthop Res. 2007 Oct 24; [Epub ahead of print].
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). . Accessed March 6, 2009.
- Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. . Copyright © 2009. Accessed March 6, 2009.
- Sprague S, Lutz K, Bryant D, et al. Complementary and alternative medicine use in patients with fractures. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2007 Oct;463:173-8.
- Wlodarski K, Galus R. The histophysiology of fracture healing. Ortop Traumatol Rehabil. 2000 Sep 30;2(3):92-6.
Causes and risk factors
- The strength of the bones depends on their size and density. Bone density depends in part on the amount of calcium, phosphorus, boron, and other minerals that bones contain. When bones contain fewer minerals than normal, they are less strong and eventually lose their internal supporting structure. Genetic and environmental factors, such as diet and exercise, also affect bone strength.
- Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones that makes them weak and prone to fracture. By their mid-30s, most individuals begin to gradually lose bone strength and more bone is lost than can be replaced. As a result, bones become less dense and structurally weaker. Osteopenia refers to mild bone loss that is not severe enough to be called osteoporosis, but that increases the risk of developing osteoporosis. As this occurs, bones lose calcium, phosphorus, boron, and other minerals and become lighter, less dense, and more porous. This makes the bones weaker and increases the chance that they might break. If not prevented or if left untreated, osteopenia can progress painlessly into osteoporosis until a bone breaks or fractures.
- Risk factors for developing osteoporosis include:
- Gender: Fractures from osteoporosis are about twice as common in women as they are in men. Although women are four times more likely than men to develop the disease, men also suffer from osteoporosis. Women start out with lower bone mass and tend to live longer, increasing their risk for developing osteoporosis. They also experience a sudden drop in estrogen at menopause that accelerates bone loss, as estrogen helps with bone formation. Slender, small-framed women are particularly at risk because they have relatively less bone mass to loose. Men who have low levels of the male hormone testosterone also are at increased risk. From age 75 years on, osteoporosis is as common in men as it is in women.
- Age: Bones weaken during normal aging in a process called resorption. Bone resorption is the gradual loss of bone. As individuals age, whether male or female, there is an average loss of 0.5% bone mass every year after age 50. The result is an increase in bone fractures, such as hip fractures.
- Ethnicity: Caucasians and Southeast Asians are at the greatest risk of osteoporosis, leading to an increase in bone fractures. African American and Latino men and women have a lower but still significant risk of osteoporosis-related fractures. It is estimated that around 40% of U.S. Caucasian women and 13% of U.S. Caucasian men aged 50 years and older will experience at least one fracture due to bone loss in their lifetime. It is also estimated that in the United States, 54% postmenopausal Caucasian women are osteopenic and 30% are osteoporotic, and by the age of 80, 27% of Caucasian women are osteopenic and 70% are osteoporotic.
- Heredity: Having a parent or sibling (brother or sister) with osteoporosis puts the individual at a greater risk for developing osteoporosis and bone fractures, especially if the individual also has a family history of bone fractures. An individual with a family member who has osteoporosis has a 50-85% increased risk of developing osteoporosis.
- Body frame size: Men and women who are exceptionally thin or have small body frames tend to have higher risk because they may have less bone mass to draw from as they age.
- Smoking: The impact of cigarette smoking on bone health is not well understood. Smoking may cause a decrease in bone density, although it is unclear whether this is a direct result of the action of smoking or other factors that are generally attributable to smokers. Smokers are usually thinner than nonsmokers, tend to drink more alcohol, may be less physically active, and may have poor diets. Women who smoke also tend to have an earlier menopause than nonsmokers. These factors place many smokers at an increased risk for osteoporosis apart from their tobacco use.
- In addition, most studies on the effects of smoking suggest that smoking increases the risk of having a fracture. Results have found that the longer an individual smokes and the more cigarettes consumed, the greater the risk of fracture in old age. Smokers who fracture bones may take longer to heal than non-smokers. Significant bone loss has been found in older women and men who smoke. Studies suggest that second-hand smoke exposure during youth may increase the risk of developing low bone mass. Also, women who smoke often produce less estrogen and tend to experience menopause earlier than nonsmokers. Smoking cessations appears to reduce the risk of low bone mass and fractures.
- Estrogen levels: Estrogen helps to increase bone density. The longer a woman is exposed to estrogen, the lower her risk of osteoporosis. Women have a lower risk of osteoporosis if they have a late menopause or they began menstruating at an earlier than average age. A history of abnormal menstrual periods, experiencing menopause earlier than the late 40s, or having the ovaries surgically removed before age 45 without receiving hormone therapy may also increase the risk of developing osteoporosis.
- Health conditions: Health conditions caused by hormone imbalances, such as hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone), hyperparathyroidism (too much parathyroid hormone), and Cushing's syndrome (too much adrenal hormone) may increase the risk for osteoporosis because they interfere with the regulation of the hormones that regulate bone formation. Gastrointestinal disorders, such as celiac disease and Crohn's disease, which affect absorption of calcium and vitamin D, also increase the risk of osteoporosis. Early onset menopause brought on by the removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) and the complete removal of the ovaries (oophrectomy) are associated with osteoporosis.
- Chronic alcohol abuse has been associated with decreased bone mineral density in and is commonly listed as a risk factor for osteoporosis. Prevalence of osteoporosis in alcoholics has been estimated at 28-52%. Excess consumption of alcohol reduces bone formation and interferes with the body's ability to absorb calcium.
- Individuals who experience serious depression have increased rates of bone loss. Depression activates the sympathetic nervous system, which responds to impending danger or stress, causing the release of a chemical compound called noradrenaline that harms bone-building cells (osteoblasts).
- Women and men with eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia, are at higher risk of lower bone density in their lower backs and hips. Eating disorders have significant physical consequences. Affected individuals can experience nutritional and hormonal problems that negatively impact bone density. Low body weight in females causes the body to stop producing estrogen, resulting in a condition known as amenorrhea, or absent menstrual periods. Low estrogen levels contribute to significant losses in bone density. In addition, individuals with anorexia often produce excessive amounts of the adrenal hormone cortisol, which is known to trigger bone loss.
- Other problems, such as a decrease in the production of growth hormone and other growth factors, low body weight, calcium deficiency, and malnutrition, all contribute to bone loss in individuals with eating disorders. Weight loss, restricted dietary intake, and testosterone deficiency may be responsible for the low bone density found in males with eating disorders. Studies suggest that low bone mass (osteopenia) is common in people with anorexia and that it occurs early in the course of the disease. Girls with anorexia are less likely to reach their peak bone density and therefore may be at increased risk for osteoporosis and fracture throughout life.
- Medications: Certain medications may decrease the body's ability to absorb calcium and may increase the risk of developing osteoporosis. Postmenopausal women who have had breast cancer are at an increased risk of osteoporosis, especially if they were treated with medications such as anastrozole (Arimidex®), letrozole (Femara®), and exemestane (Aromasin®), which suppress estrogen. Women treated with tamoxifen (Nolvadex®) do not seem to develop an increase in bone loss.
- Diuretics, or medications that prevent buildup of fluids in the body, can cause the kidneys to excrete more calcium, leading to thinning bones. Diuretics that cause calcium loss include furosemide (Lasix®), bumetanide (Bumex®), ethacrynic acid (Edecrin®), and torsemide (Demadex®).
- Long-term use of the blood-thinning medication heparin, the drug methotrexate (Rheumatrex®), some anti-seizure medications, such as phenytoin (Dilantin®), and aluminum-containing antacids, such as Amphojel®, can also lead to bone loss by decreasing the absorption of calcium and depleting calcium from the body.
- Cholestyramine (Cholestin®), used to control blood cholesterol levels, may decrease calcium absorption and increase the risk of osteoporosis. Gonadotropin-releasing hormones (such as Lupron®) used for the treatment of endometriosis may also decrease calcium absorption and increase the risk of osteoporosis. Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that normally lines the uterus (endometrium) grows in other areas of the body, causing pain, irregular bleeding, and possible infertility.
- Corticosteroids, such as prednisone (Deltasone®), may lead to osteoporosis. Approximately 30-50% of individuals taking corticosteroids long-term develop osteoporosis. Relatively short courses (two to three months) of more than 7.5 milligrams of prednisone (Deltasone®) can cause significant bone loss. The common long-term use of corticosteroids in conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, results in a dramatic increase in vertebral and ultimately hip fracture rates. Corticosteroids are used for inflammatory conditions including allergic reactions, skin diseases (psoriasis, hives), and breathing problems; certain cancers; blood disorders; eye problems; arthritis; digestive problems; and for hormone replacement.
- Low calcium intake: A lifelong lack of calcium plays a major role in the development of osteoporosis. Low calcium intake contributes to poor bone density, early bone loss, and an increased risk of fractures. Many foods contain calcium, but dairy products are the most significant source. Milk and dairy products such as yogurt, cheeses, and buttermilk contain an efficiently absorbed form of calcium.
- Lack of exercise: Exercise can increase bone density at any age. Muscle pulling on bone builds bone, so weight-bearing exercise builds denser, stronger bones. Children who are physically active and consume adequate amounts of calcium-containing foods have the greatest bone density.
- Excess soda or coffee consumption: The link between osteoporosis and caffeinated sodas is not clear, but caffeine and phosphoric acid in the drinks may interfere with calcium absorption. Caffeine, also found in coffee and tea, is also a diuretic, which may increase mineral loss.
Types of bone fractures
- Greenstick fracture: In a greenstick fracture, the bone sustains a small, slender crack. This type of fracture is more common in children, due to the comparative flexibility of their bones.
- Comminuted fracture: In a comminuted fracture, the bone is shattered into small pieces. This type of complicated fracture tends to heal at a slower rate.
- Simple fracture: In a simple fracture, or 'closed' fracture, the broken bone has not pierced the skin.
- Compound fracture: In a compound fracture, or 'open' fracture, the broken bone juts through the skin, or a wound leads to the fracture site. The risk of infection is higher with this type of fracture.
- Pathological fracture: In a pathological fracture, bones weakened by various diseases (such as osteoporosis or cancer) tend to break with very little force.
- Avulsion fracture: Muscles are anchored to bone by tendons, which are
a type of connective tissue.
In an avulsion fracture, powerful muscle contractions can wrench the tendon free and pull out pieces of bone. This type of fracture is more common in the knee and shoulder joints. Avulsion fractures are reported to be more common in children than adults. In adults, the ligaments and tendons tend to be injured, whereas in children the bone may fail before the ligament or tendon is injured. Children have a particularly weak point in their skeleton called the growth plate. This is the area of bone that is actively growing. In children, tendons or ligaments near a growth plate can pull hard enough to cause the growth plate to fracture.
- Compression fracture: A compression fracture occurs when two bones are forced against each other. The bones of the spine, called vertebrae, are prone to this type of fracture. Elderly people, particularly those with osteoporosis, are at increased risk.
- Stress fracture: A stress fracture, or hairline fracture, is an overuse injury. Because of repeated micro-trauma, the bone can fail to absorb the shock that is being put upon it and become weakened. Most often it is seen in the lower leg, the shin bone (tibia), or foot. Athletes are at risk the most, because they have repeated footfalls on hard surfaces. Tennis players, basketball players, jumpers, and gymnasts are typically at risk.
- Hip fracture: A broken hip is a common injury, especially in elderly individuals. In the United States, hip fractures are the most common broken bone that requires hospitalization; about 300,000 Americans are hospitalized for a hip fracture every year. Women are two to three times as likely as men are to experience a hip fracture, because women lose bone density at a greater rate than men do. A hip fracture is a serious injury, particularly if the individual is older, and complications can be life-threatening. Fortunately, surgery to repair a hip fracture is usually very effective, although recovery often requires time and patience. Most people make a good recovery from a hip fracture. Generally, the better the individual's health and mobility before a hip fracture, the better their chances for a complete recovery.
Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.