A fracture is any break in continuity of any bone in the body
There are many types of fractures, for example stress, hairline, compression etc, and these types can be caused from a multitude of reasons, for example overuse, trauma and medical conditions such as osteoporosis.
Signs and symptoms of a fracture will vary depending on location/age/severity etc, but may include: pain, swelling, redness, angulation (affected region at an odd angle), inability to weight bear and lack of mobility. An individual with a fracture may experience shock, nausea and/or dizziness.
In most cases, management of fractures will aim to provide optimal healing for the bone tissue. This is achieved through “fracture reduction” = ensuring the ends of the bone are aligned. For some fractures surgical management may be required to provide alignment/stabilisation of the bone fracture. This can be done through the use of plate/screws and/or pins/wires.
After the fracture is realigned, and stable, we see an “immobilisation” phase = preventing movement, usually through use of a cast, splint or moon-boot etc. Timeframes for immobilisation can vary, and are dependent on age, severity, location of fracture, but can typically be expected to be immobilised for 2-8 weeks. However sometimes, longer duration is required if “delayed union” or “non-union” are occurring. This is where the bone is healing slower than anticipated, or not healing.
Once the bone segments have healed adequately, rehabilitation may be necessary to help restore optimal tissue strength around the recent fracture site; regaining muscle mass, joint strength, and in some cases mobility and balance. Although this is an important component of the long term health of a fracture site, an individual may not regain pre-fracture mobility and/or strength in all cases.
Some positive ways to help minimise your risk of fractures include, regular physical exercise, including weightbearing and resistance-based exercises. Ensuring you are getting enough Vitamin D (sunlight), will assist in the absorption of Calcium, which is integral for bone health and strength, so ensuring your diet is balanced with adequate calcium supply is important also.