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With Dr. Todd Curran



With Dr. Todd Curran

A fracture is a broken bone.

Bones are generally rigid, but they do bend when force is applied.  If the force is too great, the bone will break.  A bone may be partially or completely fractured in a number of patterns.

The type and severity of the fracture depends on the amount and type of force applied and the health of the bone.  A small crack in the bone may occur when the breaking point is exceeded only slightly.  Extreme force, like an automobile accident or gunshot, may cause the bone to shatter

An open fracture is when the broken bone communicates with the outside environment by sticking through the skin or a wound penetrates down to the broken bone.  An open fracture is particularly serious due the increased risk for infection.  The majority of fractures are designated as closed, no outside communication.

Weakened bones, as with osteoporosis, are more likely to break with lower forces.  Stress fractures are tiny cracks that occur in the bone when repetitive motion place more force on the bone, as with athletic training.

Fractures cause swelling and tenderness around the site of injury.  Bruising and deformity may be present.  Fractures are typically diagnosed by physical exam and x-rays.  Occasionally, more sensitive studies, MRI or CT scans, may be needed.

The treatment for a fracture depends on the type of broken bone, the stability, and the potential for healing.  Treatments include casting/bracing or surgical fixation.  Fractures can take several weeks to several months to heal.

Proper diet and exercise may help in preventing some fractures.  A diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D will promote bone strength.  Weight-bearing exercise also helps keep bones strong.



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