Senior Care: What Are Bone Fractures

Decent Essays
Senior Care: What are Bone Fractures?

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, a fracture is a fancy term for a broken bone. A bone can be completely or partially broken in a number of different directions and ways. The type of fracture is determined by the direction and severity of the break (lengthwise, crosswise, broken into many pieces, pierced the skin, etc.).

Bones are strong, but they can only withstand so much pressure. When we are young, there is a certain degree of "flexibility" to the bones. As we age, our bones become denser and do not give. When we continue to age, the bones may become more porous and lose their density, which makes them more susceptible to breaks.

Think about a stick. A young, green stick may
…show more content…
The bone has shattered into three or more pieces.

The most common reasons for seniors to have bone fractures are trauma, usually associated with a fall, and osteoporosis.

An open or compound fracture or a comminuted fracture is pretty easy to identify. However, stable fractures are not always so easy to spot. The main signs of a fracture include:

Swelling and tenderness at and around the site of the injury.
Bruising at and around the injury.
Deformity – does the body part look like the bone has been broken.

While you may be able to get a good idea if a break occurred from eyeballing the injury, the only way to be sure if a break occurred is through an x-ray. If you are not sure about a fracture, follow this one simple rule: When in doubt, check it out.

Fractures are healed by putting the bone pieces back where they belong so they can knit themselves back together. Most of the time, a stable fracture can be assisted with a cast to immobilize the area. Other times, the bones will need some help being realigned through a process called traction, where the pieces of bone are pulled back into place. In more complicated situations, surgery may be necessary to hold the pieces of bone in place with
Get Access