Care for Orthopedic Trauma covers a wide spectrum from simple isolated fractures to severe life-threatening accidents causing multiple broken bones. Though several fractures can be very well treated by general orthopedic surgeons, some others may only be able to benefit from fracture specialists. Most significant among these are injuries with multiple broken bones, fractures of the pelvis, compound fractures & fractures near a joint which are more difficult to treat & would, therefore, benefit the most from specialized care. Moreover, fracture specialists additionally treat osteomyelitis (bone infections) & malunion (healing with poor alignment), nonunions including other problems with healing. Orthopedic trauma specialists undergo unique training & have expertise in treating orthopedic injuries.
What is Orthopedic Trauma?
Orthopedic trauma is a branch of orthopedic surgery which specializes in problems relating to soft tissues including ligaments, tendons, muscles & joints including bones of the entire body following trauma. Main goal of this specialized subject in orthopedics is healing of fractured bones & restoration of anatomic alignment of joint surfaces so as to allow for recovery & enabling return to maximum functionality of the injured part of the body.
Most often fractures are found to happen when excessive force is applied to the bone than what the bone could take. Moreover, bones are the weakest when they get twisted. Bone fractures are generally caused by trauma, falls or resulting from kicks or a direct impact to the body. Repetitive motions or overuse can also tire muscles or put excessive pressure on bones. These cause stress fractures & are more common among athletes. Fractures are also caused by diseases which weaken bones, like osteoporosis or cancer of the bones.
Most common symptoms of fractures are enumerated below. However, every patient may experience symptoms differently. Nevertheless, symptoms of fractured or broken bones include the following.
- Sudden Pain
- Trouble while moving or using injured area or nearby joints
- Redness, Bruising or Warmth
- Obvious Deformity
Symptoms of broken bones may sometimes resemble other problems or medical conditions. It would, therefore, be proper to see a healthcare provider for diagnosis.
In addition to asking for a complete medical history, including how the injury happened, orthopedists may conduct a physical examination & perform tests which are used for diagnosing fractures including the following.
- X-Rays – This diagnostic test uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams in order to make pictures of organs, bones & internal tissues on film.
- MRI Magnetic Resonance Imaging – This is an imaging test which uses large magnets, radio-frequency & a computer for producing detailed pictures of structures within the body.
- CT Computed Tomography Scan – This imaging test utilizes x-rays & a computer so as to make detailed images of the body. CT scans can effectively show details of organs, fat, muscles & bones.
Goal of fracture treatment is to put back pieces of bone in place & give it time to heal while controlling pain, preventing complications & restoring normal function of the fractured area. Common treatments for fractures include the following.
- Splint or Cast – This is to immobilize the injured area & to keep the bone in alignment. It is also meant to protect the injured area from use or from motion which the bone is still healing.
- Medicine – This is usually required for controlling pain.
- Traction – Use of a steady pulling action which will stretch certain parts of the body in a certain direction is called traction. For this purpose traction often uses weights, strings, pulleys & a metal frame which is attached over or onto the bed. Purpose of traction is to stretch tendons & muscles around the broken bone so as to help bone ends align & heal.
- Surgery – Surgery is usually required to put certain types of broken bones back in place. Occasionally, internal fixation or external fixation devices consisting of pins or metal rods inside the bone are employed. These are useful for holding the fragments of bone in place during the process of healing.
Fractures can at times take months to heal as broken bones knit themselves back together when new bone is formed to cement between the broken parts.
Most of the fractures are caused due to accidents like falls or other kinds of injuries. However, one can take certain measures including the following in order to decrease the risk of bone fractures.
- Consume a healthy diet which includes calcium & vitamin D in order to keep the bones strong.
- Perform weight-bearing exercises so as to keep bones strong.
- Avoid all forms of tobacco & nicotine products. Nicotine & tobacco increase risk of bone fractures & are found to interfere with the process of healing.
- Osteoporosis is one of the most common causes of bone fractures among older people. Osteoporosis patients should, therefore, talk to the healthcare provider about risks & avail proper treatment for osteoporosis in case they have it.
People should make it a point to see a healthcare provider whenever they think they have a broken bone. Moreover, open fractures are those in which the bone comes through skin & where it can be seen or when there is a deep wound through which bone can be seen; such cases should always be considered as an emergency. Patients should get medical attention right away for these types of fractures. Any injury which is caused to bones of spine is also to be considered a medical emergency. They can cause severe back pain & create nerve problems as well. Nerve problems generally include weakness, tingling, numbness or bladder/bowel problems.
- Fractures are either partial or complete break in bones. Moreover, there are several different types of fractures.
- Fractures in bones are often caused by trauma, falls, or at times result from direct blows or kicks to the body. Repetitive motions or overuse can also cause stress fractures. Fractures are also caused by diseases which weaken bones. These include cancer in bones or osteoporosis.
- Main purpose of fracture treatments is to put back pieces of bones in place & allow them to heal. This can be done with traction, surgery, casts or splints.
- Fracture patients should see a healthcare provider anytime they feel they have broken bones.
Here are some tips to get the most from the initial consultation with the healthcare provider.
- Understand the reason for the visit & what you expect to derive from treatment.
- Write down questions which you have in mind prior to the visit.
- Take someone along with in order to help you ask questions & for remembering what the healthcare provider tells you.
- Write down the name of new diagnosis, tests, medicines & treatment during the visit along with any new instructions which the healthcare provider instructs.
- Understand as to why newer medicines or treatment are prescribed & as to how this will be able to help in your case. Also, understand as to what type of side effects they generate.
- Inquire if your conditions can be treated in any other way.
- Know as to why these tests or procedures are recommended & as to what these results could mean to you.
- Understand what could happen if you do not take medicines or fail to go undergo tests or procedures.
- Patients having follow-up appointments should write down date, time & purpose of follow-up appoints.
- Patients should also know how they can contact the healthcare provider in case they have more questions in mind.
Orthopedic trauma experts specialize in treatment of severe bone fractures & associated conditions including multiple broken bones, fractures near joints, compound fractures which break through skin, fractures which have not healed properly & fractures which have become infected. Orthopedic trauma experts are the best medical professionals to deal with complications from past injuries & can effectively help patients recover & restore maximal use of injured areas. They are the best doctors who employ integrated & multi-disciplinary team approach in order to ensure optimal result in treatment, recovery & rehabilitation of patients. Orthopedic trauma healthcare team specializes in caring for the most complex fractures & fracture associated problems like foot/ankle reconstruction, pelvis/hip reconstruction, infections, deformity correction, post-traumatic arthritis, malunions & nonunions. Ultimate goal of these treatments is to help patients to recover from injuries & enable faster return to everyday activities.
Here is a list of most common conditions treated by orthopedic trauma team for patients with all types of fractures & other complex orthopedic issues.
- Trauma Fractures
- Pilon Fracture
- Ankle Fracture
- Foot Fracture
- Complex Fracture
- Tibial Plateau Fracture
- Wrist Fracture
- Elbow Fracture
- Shoulder Fracture
- Hip Fracture
- Acetabular Fracture
- Pelvic Fracture
- Knee Fracture
- Forearm Fracture
- Complex Orthopedics
- Distal Radius Fracture
- Limb Length Discrepancy / Inequality
- Deformity Due to Injury
- Bone Infection
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