A fracture is a medical term used to describe a broken bone. It occurs when there is a partial or complete break in the continuity of the bone due to an injury or trauma. Fractures can range from mild, where the bone is cracked but still aligned, to severe, where the bone is completely displaced or broken into multiple pieces. Fractures are usually accompanied by pain, swelling, and limited mobility in the affected area, and they require medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment.
A broken bone causes pain and discomfort, leading to immobility of the injured part and restricted movement. The condition needs immediate medical assistance to avoid further injuries if it is severe. It can be treated with the help of a cast or a splint to support the broken bones and to maintain the operative surgery performed to align the bones.
The cast, helpful to keep the broken bones aligned, also needs care. Fracture care refers to the medical treatment and management provided to individuals who have sustained bone fractures. It involves assessing the fracture type, stabilising the bone through splints, casts, or surgery, and monitoring the healing process. The goal is to ensure proper bone alignment, pain relief, and restoration of functionality for optimal recovery.
When does a fracture require a cast?
A fracture typically requires a cast when the bone is broken but still in alignment, and the cast helps to hold the bone in place during the healing process. Casts are used for stable fractures, where the broken ends of the bone can be immobilised and aligned without surgery. The cast provides support, reduces pain, and protects the fracture from further damage, allowing the bone to heal properly over time.
Mentioned below are the medical scenarios when a fracture requires the use of a cast or a splint:
- Swelling– When an injury caused due to fracture causes extreme swelling and discomfort, a cast or splint may be required. The cast helps maintain the bones’ alignment and speedy recovery of the broken bones. It also helps to lower the swelling and avoid any discomfort caused to the patient.
- Bruising– An injury leading to significant bruises on the skin can cause worry. A doctor must check such situations to know the root cause and proper injury treatment. A cast may help get rid of the fracture and lower the bruises. The cast helps maintain the bones’ position after the surgical procedure, which helps in quick recovery and lower bruising.
- Restricted Movement– If an individual cannot move the injured part of the body and feels restricted, the situation requires a cast. The cast keeps the position of the bones aligned and intact to avoid any heavy movements. The cast helps in supporting the injury and keeping the operative surgery safe.
How is a fracture treated?
- Splints– Splints are the supports to immobilise broken bones or joints. It helps in unnecessary excessive movement of the injured joint and is also helpful to avoid swelling. Splints act as first aid for Fracture Care for supporting the bones.
- Stop Bleeding– Excessive blood loss in case of an injury or a fracture is one of the significant risks that can occur. If a patient is bleeding profusely due to a fracture, the blood flow should be immediately stopped. It should be done by pressuring the bleeding spot with a clean dressing.
- Do not move the injured part– If an individual has a fracture of bones, limbs, or the pelvis area, then one should not move the injured part. A professional medical assistant helps to deal with such situations accordingly. Medical assistance helps straighten the bones if required at r the time.
- Sling– A sling is a helpful measure to be taken in case of an arm fracture. It helps to support the broken bones and allows the patient to heal swiftly. The sling can be adjusted according to the patient’s comfort and is also helpful in lowering pain and swelling.
- Cold Pack– A cold pack helps to lower the swelling and pain caused by fractures. Swelling due to excess inflammation in the injured part can be observed, leading to pain. Icing the situation helps to lower the swelling and allow speedy recovery from injury.
In case of compound fractures, upon arriving at the emergency department, pain relief options include oral or intravenous pain medications and nerve blocks. Tetanus vaccine and antibiotics might be administered based on the injury’s cause, location, and severity. The acronym P.R.I.C.E. summarises treatment: Protection involves covering the fracture, Rest promotes healing, Ice reduces swelling, Compression uses casts or devices for stabilisation, and Elevation reduces swelling. Surgery is often needed, with the surgeon realigning the bones (reduction), sometimes using pins, rods, plates, or screws. Bones are then immobilised with casts or devices. Pain relief, sedation, or anaesthesia is provided during the procedure.
Post Fracture Surgery Care Guidelines
- Medications– Pain after a fracture surgery is one of the issues observed after any surgery. It can be managed with the help of NSAIDs and different other painkillers. A doctor may also prescribe Norco, Colace, Aspirin, and other similar medications for pain relief.
- Light Activity– Heavy exercises or extreme efforts may damage the healing process of fracture surgery. Light exercises help maintain the injured part’s movement and improve blood circulation. It also helps to avoid lethargy and jamming of the movement of the injured part.
- Physiotherapy– Physiotherapy is one of the measures that aid in quick recovery from a fracture. A physiotherapist carefully helps the damaged joint’s easy and required movement. Hence, a doctor may suggest physiotherapy for a few weeks after the orthopaedic surgery.
- Icing– Icing helps in lowering the swelling observed after the surgical procedure. Icing over the fracture and wounds is advised until the patient is comfortable after the surgery.
When to Consult a Doctor
You can also get in touch with the expert Ortho doctors at Narayana Healthcare based in your city to get immediate attention and medical support during injuries, health disorders or any other health concern.
Fracture Care is essential for a patient for speedy recovery after the surgery. It helps in lowering the pain and swelling. Following proper steps and guidelines after the surgery helps keep the treated area safe and injured-free. One should also take proper care of the cast applied over surgery.
Q. What is a fracture?
A. A fracture is breaking or misaligning bones due to an accident, fall, or sports injury.
Q. What steps should be followed for fracture care?
A. Steps such as icing over the wound, keeping the wound clean and dry, use of cast, sling, or splint to support the broken bones, and medicines to lower pain are some steps to be followed after the surgery to heal the fracture.
Q. When is a cast used in fracture care?
A. A cast is used for stable fractures, where the broken bone remains aligned. It provides support, immobilises the bone, and promotes healing.
Q. What are the goals of fracture care?
A. The goals include proper bone alignment, pain relief, and restoration of functionality. Fracture care aims to facilitate optimal healing and prevent complications for a successful recovery.
Q. How is a compound fracture treated?
A. In case of compound fractures, upon arriving at the emergency department, pain relief options include oral or intravenous pain medications and nerve blocks. Tetanus vaccine and antibiotics might be administered based on the injury’s cause, location, and severity. The acronym P.R.I.C.E. summarises treatment: Protection involves covering the fracture, Rest promotes healing, Ice reduces swelling, Compression uses casts or devices for stabilisation, and Elevation reduces swelling. Surgery is often needed, with the surgeon realigning the bones (reduction), sometimes using pins, rods, plates, or screws. Bones are then immobilised with casts or devices. Pain relief, sedation, or anaesthesia is provided during the procedure.