The impact of a car wreck can lead to many different injuries. One of the possibilities is a broken bone. There are many different ways that bones can break and just as many impacts that this painful injury can have on the victim’s life.
It is easy to think of a broken bone as a minor injury. After all, you just need to keep it still in a cast for a few weeks and then you should be good as new, right? While that is possible in some cases, there are actually some instances in which this can turn into a life-threatening injury.
What causes a broken bone?
Bones are hard and meant to support the body and limbs, but they do have a little ability to bend if necessary. When the force placed on the bone is too great, it will snap. Depending on the type and amount of force, it is possible for a bone to either crack a bit or to break all the way through.
There are two classes of broken bones:
- Closed: The broken bone doesn’t penetrate through the skin.
- Open: The broken bone is visible through the skin or there is an open area of skin above the fracture, even if the bone doesn’t show through it.
Bones can break in several ways. Some of the more common types include:
- Stable fracture: The bone is barely out of place and the ends are lined up.
- Oblique fracture: The bone is broken in an angled manner.
- Transverse fracture: The fracture is horizontal along the bone.
- Comminuted fracture: The bone is shattered into three or more pieces.
What are the signs and diagnostic options for a broken bone?
Pain is one of the most common signs that a person has suffered a broken bone. The area around the break might appear bruised and swollen. You might be able to see the break in the bone due to a deformity of the body part. These signs will usually be easily noticeable at the site of the car wreck.
When a doctor thinks a person has a broken bone, they will usually do an x-ray on the patient. This helps to determine the type of fracture and treatment plan.
How are they treated?
Fractures are treated with a variety of methods, depending on the type of fracture and the location. Sometimes, the bone has to be reset. This involves surgery to align the bones back together and may include placing screws or plates into the bone. From there, the area is placed in a cast or brace, depending on the need for full or partial immobilization.
Traction is necessary sometimes. The bone is aligned through a pulling action that is gentle and steady. Sometimes, external fixation with screws outside of the body is used if the patient needs to start healing before surgery.
What are some of the risks?
Some of the risks of a broken bone include bone deterioration, fever, limping, drainage from the wound, infection, blood poisoning and chronic pain. Prompt care, follow up appointments and complying with instructions can reduce the risk of these occurring.