A fracture is a term used to describe a cracked or broken bone, which can occur as a result of an accident or disease. Some fractures can be extremely painful and require urgent attention, while others can happen gradually and even go unnoticed for some time.
Types of fracture
There are two types of fracture: closed and open. A closed fracture doesn’t affect the skin, whereas an open fracture will pierce through the skin, revealing the broken bone.
Fractures often occur as the result of a collision or fall and require urgent attention. But in some cases there is no obvious cause. Stress fractures, for example, can occur slowly over time due to repeated stress on a particular bone and joint.
We treat a large number of patients who have experienced a hip fracture as a result of osteoporosis, which is a condition that weakens and thins the bones. In these cases we treat the fracture and also help to manage the condition to help avoid future injuries.
In most cases a fracture will occur as the result of an accident and symptoms can include severe pain, swelling, deformity, sometimes bleeding, and a loss of function. In the case of a stress fracture, you may experience some of these symptoms to a lesser extent and they will gradually worsen over time.
In both instances it’s important to seek medical advice swiftly and visit your GP or local accident and emergency department for immediate care.
As a specialist trauma and orthopaedic consultant, Mr Nirav Shah has treated thousands of fractures affecting the hip, knee and ankle.
Fractured bones usually heal naturally by themselves, but they may need to be aligned properly and held in place to ensure they heal in the correct position. This realignment is usually performed under general anaesthetic and the bones are held in their new position using a cast or splint.
Occasionally the bones need to be secured using metal screws or rods. And in more severe cases, it may be necessary to replace damaged joints with a prosthesis to provide the best possible outcome.