Deformity of an arm or leg, swelling or bruising over a bone, the inability to put any weight through the injured area and protruding bone through the skin are all indicators of a fracture, although not every fracture will be this obvious and it is possible to mistake an ankle fracture for a sprain. Spine fractures can also feel a lot like back pain, so if there is ever any doubt, X-rays would be necessary to confirm a fracture along with its exact location and severity. A CT, MRI or bone scan may be needed in some cases if the X-ray is not sensitive enough to show the fracture.
The treatment you receive will depend on the type of fracture that you have as there are different kinds. In order for the bone to heal properly, the fractured ends must be set in their proper place and held there and this process is referred to as reduction. Closed reduction will reposition the fracture without surgery, while open reduction is done for fractures that are more complicated through surgery. Some fractures will require surgery but most of them can be repositioned without it through closed reduction. The joint will be casted once the bones are positioned properly and the cast will remain there for about six weeks, which is usually how long it takes for fractured bones to heal. If surgery is required, your surgeon will use screws or plates to keep the bone fragments in their proper position and you will have to go through a period of immobilization following the procedure. Depending on the fracture, the hardware may be left in permanently or taken out based on the patient’s needs.
It is common to experience problems from the injury after the fracture heals and because of the immobility period, it is likely that there will be a significant loss of movement and strength around the broken bone. Physiotherapycan help in this regard and is a very important part of the healing process. It can help tremendously with fracture rehabilitation and will ensure your safe return to your normal activities. A professional physiotherapist will assess your situation and limitations and will prescribe the right strengthening exercises accordingly. These exercises will help improve your range of motion so that you can get back to all of your previous activities.