What is fracture? Is it the same as a broken bone?
A fracture is a broken bone. Fractures typically occur from injuries in which the force applied overcomes the strength of the bone (fall, car accident). Fractures typically hurt enough to seek immediate treatment, but many patients incorrectly assume they have a sprain or “jammed their finger.” Any patient with an injury causing pain or limp should seek medical care. X-rays allow accurate diagnosis of fractures.
I was seen in the ER and splinted, how soon should I see an Orthopedic Surgeon?
Typically seeing an Orthopedic surgeon within a week of injury is appropriate. It is helpful to bring any reports or X-rays you may have to the visit.
When do fracture require surgery?
Nearly all fractures are temporarily immobilized by use of a splint. Fractures that have not displaced (moved in position from the norm) may be able to be treated with casting or fracture bracing. Immobilization allows the fracture to heal. In fractures that involve the lower extremity long bone, fractures that are displaced, and many fractures that extend in the joints (area of movement where two bones meet) may require surgery. Surgery can include use of plates, screws, nails, or joint replacement surgery. Surgery allows restoration of the normal shape of the bone and may even stabilize the fracture enough to move or to bear weight.