3 Types of Fractures and How They're Treated

Broken bones can happen at any point in your life and can really throw a wrench in your plans. Your treatment options and recovery time depend on the kind of fracture you have and its severity. Understanding what kind of fracture it is can help you speed up your recovery process.

At Mehling Orthopedics, our skilled team treats many different types of bone fractures. Dr. Brian Mehling and Dr. Pavel Yufit are board-certified orthopedic surgeons who can get you on the road to recovery after a fracture.

Fracture symptoms

When you’re in an accident or suffer a traumatic injury, you’ll probably know if you’ve broken a bone relatively quickly. There are several types of fractures with different symptoms, although pain is a relatively common sign. 

Other symptoms of a broken bone include:

You may also experience pain with movement or with weight bearing on the injury.

Types of fractures

When you break a bone, the first thought that runs through your head probably isn't about what type of fracture you have. However, that's one of the first things our doctors will need to know, so they can treat you appropriately. 

There are a lot of different kinds of fractures, however three of the most common types are compound, stress, and compression.

1. Compound fractures

This type of fracture usually occurs in a high-impact accident or injury. A compound fracture is when the bone breaks, and part of it breaks through your skin. Other than being very painful, this type of fracture also opens up the possibility of infection due to the contamination of the wound. Treatment is focused on preventing infection.

2. Stress fractures

Stress fractures are a type of fracture that occurs from repeated impact of stress on a bone. It’s a common injury in athletes who participate in running. Stress fractures occur more often if you have weakened bones, such as from osteoporosis. The legs and feet are the most common place for a stress fracture to occur, since your lower extremities bear most of the brunt of your weight.

3. Compression fractures

This type of fracture occurs only in the vertebrae of your spine. Your spine has to help hold up your body, and bears a lot of the weight of your torso. Over time, especially with brittle bones, your vertebrae can get tiny cracks in them. This is the result of a compression fracture. These small cracks in the bone can cause back or neck pain, and if left untreated, may result in osteoarthritis later in your life. 

Because some types of fractures are more prevalent in certain areas of the body, proper identification of your fracture is the key to successful treatment and healing. Dr. Mehling or Dr. Yufit performs a detailed exam of your injury, and may obtain imaging studies, such as an X-ray or an MRI, to diagnose your fracture. They offer treatment options based on what’s best for your situation.

Specified treatment options 

The three fractures mentioned above all require different types of treatment, due to the location and severity of each fracture. Common care of a broken bone usually includes splinting or casting to keep the bone immobilized until it’s healed. 

For a compound fracture, the first thing that our doctors need to do is clean the wound to prevent infection. This is usually performed in the operating room, due to the pain involved in this type of injury. After thoroughly cleaning your wound, we stabilize your fracture with a plate and screws.

Stress fracture treatment focuses on reducing weight on the injury until it’s healed. It may also require immobilization, such as a boot, brace, or crutches. You may need surgery if your fracture doesn’t heal properly, or if it’s in an area with a decreased blood supply.

Compression fractures are slightly more difficult to treat, because of their location in your spine. 

Treatment usually includes:

Surgery may be required if you don’t show improvement with conservative measures. You may slowly return to normal activities, as long as you’re feeling better and our doctors say it’s OK.

If you've suffered a broken bone and are looking for treatment, call one of our two offices in West Islip, New York, or Hackensack, New Jersey, today to schedule an appointment.

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