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How Is A Fracture Diagnosed?

Written and reviewed by
Dr.Ashwani Maichand 92% (66ratings)
Fellowship in Joint Replacement , M.Ch , MS - Orthopaedics, MBBS
Orthopedic Doctor, Delhi  •  30years experience
How Is A Fracture Diagnosed?

A broken bone is medically termed as a fracture.Fractures are linked with age as bones tend to become weak as one ages, so, the chances of a fracture occurring also increases. Fractures are usually classified into four types-
1. Closed fracture - In this type of fracture, the breaking of the bone does not result in an open wound
2. Open fracture- The opposite of closed fracture, the bone breaks through the skin. This may result in infections
3. Non-displaced fracture - in this type of fracture, the bone cracks but is not shifted out of its regular position.
4. Displaced fracture - A displaced fracture occurs when the affected bone is shifted out of its natural position.

Fractures can be caused by a number of factors, they are
1. Road accidents
2. When someone falls from a height
3. When the bone is directly exposed to a strong blow
4. When the bone is exposed to a repetitive force from activities such as sprinting
5. Osteoporosis, which is a condition where the bones become weak
6. The bones in the body tends to weaken with age, so at this time they become highly susceptible to fractures

1. Swelling in the area accompanied by pain

2. Limited movement of the affected joint
3. Muscle spasms
4. The affected area may also become numb

The first step to diagnose a fracture is the knowing about the medical history of the patient and conducting a physical exam. The diagnosis is further confirmed by using imaging tests such as -
1. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - In this procedure, images of internal body parts are taken with the help of a magnetic field and pulses of radio energy. MRIs can pick up signs of fractures very quickly, that is within the first week of injury. It is also easier to distinguish fractures from other related injuries in case of MRI.
2. X-rays -X-rays are a procedure that involves sending x-ray particles through an area to detect a fracture. Signs of a fracture may take several weeks to show up in x-rays.
3. Bone scan - In bone scans, some radioactive material is put inside the body through intravenous methods. These material tend to accumulate in the fractured area which then shows up in the images as a bright spot. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Orthopedist.

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