“Doc, what do you mean I have a fracture, I thought I had a break.” So, I have a Fracture. Now What?

Patients often present to orthopedic clinics with broken bones. A broken bone is synonymous with a fractured bone. These breaks affect a variety of locations and occur both after low energy (i.e. ground level falls) or high energy (i.e. falls from ladders, motor vehicle accidents) injuries.

After sustaining a fracture, you may be referred to an orthopedic specialist. With some types of breaks, surgery is recommended. Other breaks often heal with a course of immobilization. Occasionally, nonsurgical manipulation or a reduction may be recommended to improve alignment. In this circumstance, the physician attempts to place the broken bones into better alignment prior to applying immobilization. Radiographs (X-rays) are typically taken at different time points to assess the alignment of your broken bone. These images help physicians make treatment recommendations regarding surgery or nonoperative treatment.

After the broken bone demonstrates initial healing stability, you may be counseled on a home exercise program, or a supervised course of therapy may be prescribed. This decision and the timing should be discussed with your treating physician.

Many broken bones heal within 3 months. However, healing time may be extended for individuals with high energy injuries or elderly individuals. Healing time may also vary based upon the specific bone or location of the bone that has been injured. After 6 months, additional interventions may be necessary to help assist with bone healing. Outcomes after broken bones vary and should be discussed with your treating physician. When the break extends into a joint, arthritis may develop over time. In this circumstance, additional treatments may be discussed with your physician.

Disclaimer: Evaluation and treatment of broken bones involve complex decision-making. This information is not intended to covey, substitute or supplant any medical advice. In order to establish a treating relationship, please schedule and complete your visits with a licensed physician.

Copyright 12/9/2021 Tanay Amin, MD

Do not copy, distribute, or publish this article. Please contact Precision Hand and Orthopedic Surgery PLLC with regards to any inquiries or corrections.