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Musculoskeletal System: Fractures


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A brief rundown of various types of common fractures; causes and treatments.

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Musculoskeletal System: Fractures

  1. 1. Musculoskeletal System: Fractures<br />Meghan Cochran<br />BIO120: Medical Terminology: Rashidah Abdullah<br />22September 2009<br />
  2. 2. Fractures<br />A fracture is, put simply, a broken bone. There are multiple types of fractures: <br />Colles’ Fracture: a broken wrist.<br />Comminuted Fracture: the bone is broken or shattered into multiple smaller pieces. <br />Compound Fracture: commonly called an “open fracture,” this is when the bone busts through the skin. <br />Compression Fracture: frequently caused by degenerating bone conditions such as osteoporosis, this is when the vertebrae seem to ‘shrink.’<br />Greenstick Fracture: primarily seen in kids, this is when the bone is not totally broken. Like a young twig, this is when part of the bone is ‘splintered’ but not completely broken. <br />
  3. 3. Fractures, cont. <br />Impacted Fracture: denotes when a piece of the bone is shoved into a different part of the bone. <br />Oblique Fracture: an angled break. <br />Pathologic Fracture: fracture caused by sickness/disease.<br />Spiral Fracture: incredibly slow to heal, a spiral fracture is when the broken bone is ‘twisted’ around the axis. Common to sports or work-related injuries. <br />Stress Fracture: Caused by compounded, low-intensity movement (such as running) rather than by a lone force. <br />Transverse Fracture: a complete, 90-degree break. <br />
  4. 4. Various Fracture Types<br />
  5. 5. Greenstick Fracture<br />This fracture is almost only seen in children: a greenstick fracture is when only the outside of the bone is split. As people age, their bones calcify and become more brittle; making healing a longer and more disastrous process.<br />
  6. 6. Greenstick Fracture, cont. <br />Because a greenstick fracture involves one part of the bone breaking while the other part bends, common treatment involves a “reduction,” or bending the bone back to its initial location. Depending on where the break was, the bone may then be casted for six weeks.<br />
  7. 7. Spiral Fracture<br />A spiral fracture is when the broken bone is actually twisted. They are very painful and take a long time to heal. <br />Spiral fractures are frequently misdiagnosed as an oblique fracture. <br />Tibia/Fibula spiral breaks are quite common, and ambulation may be difficult or impossible while the fracture heals. Although the tibia is the only bone that bears weight, force of impact frequently carries over to the finer and weaker fibula. <br />
  8. 8. Spiral Fracture: “Toddler Fracture”<br />“Toddler Fracture,” or spiral fractures of the tibia (but generally not the fibula as in other types of leg fractures), are common among young children (age 1-2) who are learning to walk.<br />As they fall, the twisting motion breaks the leg. <br />Toddler Fracture can be suspected when the child cannot or will not put weight on the affected leg. <br />
  9. 9. Compression Fracture<br />Compression fractures are most commonly seen in postmenopausal women suffering from degenerative bone illnesses such as osteoporosis as estrogen levels drop. Frequently, these compression fractures seem to occur spontaneously (without injury.) However, in younger patients, compression fracture can occur as the result of trauma such as a car accident or falls from heights. <br />
  10. 10. Compression Fracture, cont. <br />Difficulties associated with compression fractures include:<br />Pain, that can migrate to the sacroiliac joints and hips<br />Kyphosis(hunch back)<br />Distortion of spinal curve and posture<br />Difficulty walking and maintaining daily tasks<br />
  11. 11. BIBLIOGRAPHY<br />Fremgen, Bonnie F., and Suzanne S. Frucht. Medical Terminology: A Living Language. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, 2009.<br />Marieb, Elaine N., R.N., Ph.D. Human Anatomy and Physiology. San Francisco: Pearson Education, 2004.<br />Norvell, Geoffrey G., MD, and Mark Steele, MD. (2008). Trauma and Orthopedics: Fracture, Tibia and Fibula. Retrieved September 12, 2009. Web Site:<br /><br />“Pediatric Bone Fracture; Intramedullary Nailing Effective for Unstable Forearm Fractures in Children.” (2006, March). Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Week, 1386.  Retrieved September 12, 2009, from Health Module.<br />Sherman, Andrew L., MD, MS, and NizamRazack, MD, FACS. (2009). Lumbar Compression Fracture. Retrieved September 12, 2009. Web Site:<br /><br />Smith, John T., MD, and SohrabGollogly, MD. (2009). Fractures of the Bones of the Lower Leg (Tibia and Fibula). Retrieved September 12, 2009. Web Site: <br /><br />