A bone fracture occurs when a strong external force is applied on the bones causing it to break. It is an extremely painful condition that results in days of immobility and rest.
There are several reasons which can result in bone fracture, some of them being:
1. Injuries caused in sports
Any sport requires and demands extreme physical exertion and participation. Being involved in any sport therefore automatically increases your risk of incurring injuries. Bone fractures therefore are mostly reported during sports.
Due to the deficiency of calcium, the bones of both men and women tend to get weak and more susceptible to fracture and breakage. It is one of the primary causes that lead to bone fracture.
This also refers to a condition wherein the bones become weak and brittle. Much like osteoporosis, osteomalacia too significantly contributes to instances of bone fractures.
This is a rare form of bone cancer that most often develops either near the femur or near the shinbone. An instance of this form of bone cancer is most often found in children and weakens the bone, consequently leading to fractures.
One of the most common symptoms of bone fracture is perceptible swelling. If any of your bone is fractured, that particular part will be visibly swollen.
Bones give your body the shape it has, thereby, any fracture anywhere would inevitably manifest itself as a clear deformity of that particular part.
3. Extreme pain
It goes without saying that a bone fracture would entail excruciating and extreme pain. This pain sharply increases with mobility thereby necessitating complete rest.
4. Temporary loss of function
The part of the body where the bone is broken temporarily becomes dysfunctional. For instance, if the bone in your hand is broken, you will find it extremely difficult to move and do any work with it.
A fracture separates a single solid object into two or more pieces due to pressure. In medical terms, a fracture refers to a broken bone due to some kind of external trauma. A crack in the bone, on the other hand, does not cause a clean break in the bone - there is only a separation or discontinuity in the bone material. A crack in the bone caused due to repeated stress is often called a 'hairline fracture'.
Here are the basic differences between a crack and a fracture in the bone and how to treat them :
1. A crack or hairline fracture is rarely caused by a single injury. It is usually the result of bone fatigue which may be caused due to repeated concentrated stress over a long period of time and thus it is also called a stress fracture. Other bone fractures are almost always the result of sudden and severe force on the bones.
2. The skeletal system constantly remodels itself. The cells called osteoblasts absorb calcium and secrete bone connective tissue. If a particular site is exposed to recurrent bouts of force (which are individually not impactful enough to cause a crack), over time the osteoblasts in that region malfunction and the crack appears. Muscular exhaustion can also cause cracks in the bones. Fractures are caused due to sudden external single force trauma to the bone. Nutritional problems like deficiencies of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D and excessive smoking decrease the bone mineral density and increase the chances of both cracks and fractures.
3. The symptoms of a crack are swelling, tenderness and sharp pain in the injured region. The symptoms worsen over time. A fracture has similar symptoms and might also exhibit an external physical distortion and makes it impossible to move the part of the body that where the broken bone is.
4. An MRI is better for the detection of cracks or crack-prone areas because an X-ray can only detect the crack after it widens somewhat or the bone starts paining because the rays cannot pass through the tiny gap in bone material. A fracture is easily detectable by an X-ray because the rays pass right through the break.
5. Complete rest for six to eight weeks is the most effective way of healing a crack. Using a walking boot in case of cracks in the leg bones in also helpful. Healing fractures requires extensive medical intervention. Surgical techniques like bone grafting and insertion of metal plates are used to reposition the broken bone.
Osteoporosis is a condition wherein the bones become brittle and weak; so much so that even mildly stressful activities such as coughing, bending over or even a slight fall (such as the one from a high rise chair) can result in fractures. Osteoporosis-related fractures commonly occur in the spine, hip or the wrist. The human body has a continuous mechanism of bone absorption and removal. In case of osteoporosis, the creation of new bones doesn’t happen in accordance with the removal of old bones.
The bones of the spine get extremely vulnerable to breakage and even cracking open. The fractures in the spine, also known as vertebral compression fractures can cause a sharp stinging pain in the back that may make sitting, standing, or even walking a very tardy task.
Abnormally less or high body weight
Menopause or low levels of sex hormones
Gender: This disorder is more likely to affect women as compared to men. Also women, who are above 50 are more likely to suffer from this debilitating disorder.
Race is a significant risk factor of osteoporosis. If you are of Asian descent, you are more likely to be affected by it.
Having a family history of osteoporosis will put you at a greater risk of this disorder.
Fractured or collapsed vertebra causing back pain
A stooped posture
A shrunken appearance (as if one has had loss of height)
Very fragile bones, thus increasing risks of fractures
Severe and sudden pain in the back
Difficulty in twisting or bending the body
Lower spine fractures are way more troublesome as compared to fractures in the upper spine. Fracturing more than a bone in the spine also remains a huge possibility.
Diagnosis and Treatment:
Firstly, an X-ray or a computerized tomography (CT scan) will be done to have a closer look at the bones. A bone density test is another commonly used method of diagnosing osteoporosis.
Steroids and medications: Some medications may be used to prevent or combat osteoporosis. These include alendronate, ibandronate, risedronateand zoledronic acid.
Physical therapy: Just like muscles, bones get stronger too when you exercise. Weight-bearing and muscle- strengthening exercises are the most helpful in this regard and are considered best for the treatment of osteoporosis. Cardiovascular exercises such as walking, jogging or even swimming can prove to be immensely beneficial.
Diet: Make a diet chart that includes high-calcium food items, dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, and low-fat milk, tofu, green vegetables such as collard greens and broccoli, sea fish such as salmon and sardines.
Salt: Limit salt intake
Therapy: Hormone replacement therapy (treatment method consisting of estrogens to alleviate and treat symptoms of osteoporosis) is another method of treatment that can be recommended by the doctor. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.