Bone Fracture Diagnosis and Treatment 

Broken bone

If you’ve broken a bone, our experts can help.

What is a bone fracture?

A fracture (or broken bone) is usually caused by a high-force impact, stress over a period of time, or as the result of a bone-weakening condition, such as osteogenesis imperfecta, osteoporosis or bone cancer.

Need to know

Symptoms of broken bones

The symptoms associated with fracture or break can vary according to a patient’s age and the severity of the injury. They include:

  • Pain due to the breaking of the periosteum (surface of the bone)
  • Swelling of nearby tissue
  • Muscle spasms
  • Tingling, numbness and a loss of sensation in the affected area

What are the possible causes of broken bones?

There are several common reasons why you might suffer a broken bone. Some of these are easy to avoid, while others are outside of an individual’s control. These include:

  • Trauma: impact injuries, further damage to existing injuries, sports injuries etc. 
  • Medical conditions that weaken the bone: osteoporosis, infections, osteogenesis im-perfecta, chronic steroid use, tumours in the bones
  • Overuse: stress fractures (non-displaced hairline cracks in the bone) are seen most often in athletes and occur as a result of repeated stress through repetitive motion

How are bone fractures diagnosed?

Your consultant will discuss what led to your fracture to fully determine the cause and help them make a diagnosis. They may also carry out imaging tests, such as an X-ray, to deter-mine the extent and type of the fracture.

Types of fracture?

There are different types of fracture. These depend on the force of the impact and the severity of the break.

  • Open/compound fracture: where there is a skin break (open wound) near the site of the fracture
  • Closed fracture: where the bone is broken, but the skin remains intact
  • Greenstick fracture: where the bone bends and cracks, but doesn’t break into sepa-rate pieces
  • Displaced fracture: where the bone breaks and the separate parts move out of alignment with each other
  • Comminuted fracture: where the bone breaks in at least two separate places
  • Buckle/torus fracture: where one side of the bone bends, causing a buckle but with-out breaking the other side of the bone

Potential treatment options for bone fractures

Your consultant will discuss your treatment options with you. Depending on the location and severity of your injury these can include conservative treatment such as managing the pain and immobilizing the break with a cast, or more complex surgical procedures such as Open reduction internal fixation (ORIF).

How to prevent bone fractures

Keeping your bones healthy is one of the most important things you can do to prevent bone fractures. Exercising several times a week and making sure you have enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet is vital as this encourages strong bones.

While you can’t eliminate all risk of suffering a fall or accident, you can minimize your chanc-es simply by exercising common sense and caution.

Making sure you’re wearing appropriate footwear, being aware of your surroundings at all times, and following health and safety protocols when in public areas are simple steps that can help to keep you safe.

Living with a bone fracture

After your break has been immobilized to help it heal, you’ll need to make some adjustments to your day-to-day life to accommodate your limited range of movement.

Firstly, you’ll have to make sure you can move around your home safely. You may have to wear a sling or a cast, or use crutches, a walking frame, or a wheelchair. All of these will have an impact on your surroundings.

Daily tasks that you may have taken for granted, such as preparing food, bathing, and getting dressed will be more difficult to start with. If you can, enlist the support of a family member or friend to help.

Most importantly, make sure you limit your activity and give your body what it needs to heal, including rest and painkillers as advised by your consultant.

Our bone fracture consultants

We’re proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centers and specialist clinics.

Contact us

Our advisors can help with your enquiries. Or, you can book an appointment with a specialist or consultant

Call 020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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