What is it?
A fracture is the medical term for a broken bone. A bone fractures when a force greater than the bone itself is applied to the bone, i.e. from a fall. Any bone where the continuity of the bone is broken is a fracture. A bone does not need to ‘break’ in two for a fracture to occur, it can be part way through the bone or all the way through the bone.
It is broken down into different categories:
- Displaced – where the two ends of the bone are not lined up
- Non-displaced – where the two ends of the bone are lined up
- Open – a fracture that pierces through the skin – a compound fracture
- Closed – when it does not pierce the skin
There are different classifications of fractures:
- Transverse – a fracture that is perpendicular to the bones axis
- Oblique – curved or angled pattern to the fracture
- Comminuted – bone fragments into several pieces
- Impacted – pressure to both ends of bone – the bone ‘buckles’
- Stress – overuse injury, muscles are weak and unable to absorb shock
- Greenstick – incomplete fracture which the bone bends, common in children
How Can Physiotherapy Help?
After any fracture, mobility of the joint both range of movement and quality of movement, weight bearing ability, walking ability if it is a weight-bearing joint, muscle strength and proprioception are all affected.
- Help improve range of movement of the joint
- Improve any mobility issues – gait re-education, balance re-education
- Increase Strength by providing a progressive home exercise programme
- Improve simple daily tasks – up/down stairs, in/out bed, getting dressed, etc.
- Provide a ‘Do’s and Dont’s’ for each stage your rehabilitation