Everything You Should Know About Major and Minor Fractures

A fracture can cause excruciating pain, holding you back from your daily routines. Without treatment, the consequences thereof can distort the quality of your life for a long time.

At the onset of things, you may not properly ascertain whether you have a fracture or just a bruise. After a traumatic event, it is necessary to visit an ER near you for correct diagnosis and treatment.

​What Are Fractures?

They feature broken bones. In medical definition, a fracture is when the continuity of any bone of the body is compromised, rather, broken. Not only that, but a crack on any of your bones is also termed as a fracture.

Fractures can happen in any part of your body that has a bone. As there are many types of fractures, many patients suffer from them than would like to admit.

Causes of Fractures

Most of the reported fractures in emergency room are due to blunt traumas and accidents. It takes high force impact to break the bones of a human being.

Still, that is not the only reason why your bones could be fractured. As you may gather during your diagnostic tests at an ER, sometimes a fracture can be caused by an underlying health problem. Some health problems compromise the strength of your bones, making them highly susceptible to breakage, even without the need of high force impact. In such cases, minor stress can trigger a crack or a break. Examples of health problems that can result in bone weakness include:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Some types of cancers
  • Osteogenesis imperfecta

Classifications of Fractures

The classifications of fractures in medicine allow doctors to best treat the fractures as they are. The classifications are determined based on three main fronts:

  • Based on the pattern of the fracture
  • Based on the relationship with the environment
  • Based on displacement

On those fronts, the following classifications are determined:

  • Open and closed fractures

Most closed fractures are simple. They are cracks and breaks that are contained within the skin. They are best determined through x-ray scans. Closes fractures, on the other hand, can be compound and complex. The fracture is significant enough to have broken the skin.

  • Displaced and undisplaced fractures

Displaced fractures are when the broken bones have moved from their original position. The movement can be to the sideways, be an angular bend, collapsed so that the bone is shortened, to mention a few. The undisplaced fracture has the broken bone still at the initial place, regardless of the crack or break.

  • Fracture patterns 

The pattern of a fracture is a major classification in medicine. Some are diagonal, others horizontal and others spiral.

8 Types of Fractures

There are ideally many types of fractures in medicine, defined by how they damage the bone tissue. However, the following 8 are the most common:

  • Segmental fracture – it is when the same bone in your body incurs two fractures. This leaves a part of the bone structure unsupported and rather ‘floating’ independently.
  • Fracture dislocation – it is a two-part fracture. First a joint is dislocated in your body. Afterward, a bone in the joint area is broken or cracked. Usually, the two will happen simultaneously. Worse, a loose piece of bone may remain stuck in the area of dislocation, requiring surgery to remove it.
  • Impacted fracture – it is a fracture where one part of the bone goes into another. Usually, it is best described as a condition where the fracture line is indistinct.
  • Comminuted fracture – defines the literal shattering of a bone into many pieces. It can be shattered into three pieces or more.
  • Compression fracture –the bone fractured is compressed and crushed, making it appear flat. It is common for a spinal injury, where a collapse may happen in the spongy bone of the spinal column.
  • Pathological fracture – it is a fracture that occurs because of the weakness of the bones, usually due to underlying diseases.
  • Hairline fracture – it features a tiny crack on a bone, typically hard to detect with routine x-rays. It happens due to overuse and stress.
  • Greenstick fracture – it describes a bone that breaks on one side and remains intact on the other side. Usually, it happens because the affected bone is more elastic and softer. Therefore, instead of fully breaking, it bends on one side. Such a fracture is common among children because of the types of bones they have.