Six Types of Fractures

Consider a simple glass and think about the many ways in which it can break — perhaps a crack develops or the whole thing shatters into pieces. The same is very much true of your bones, which dictates how we go about restoring the hard tissue.

Dr. Timothy Wilson and our team of orthopedic specialists have seen almost every type of fracture, from the simple to the highly complex. Whatever the case, our goal is to help the bone heal as strongly as possible to avoid future problems.

Here, we explore six of the more common types of fractures and what your treatment options are.

1. Stable fracture

The best way to describe a stable fracture is to think of it as a clean break. With this type of fracture, the ends of the bones still line up, which means they haven’t greatly moved out of position.

For most stable fractures, we turn to immobilization, such as a cast, which allows the two ends to fuse back together through bone remodeling.

2. Oblique fracture

If the break in your bone is at an angle, we call it an oblique fracture. Depending upon the proximity and angle of the two ends, we may recommend the same treatment as a stable fracture — immobilization — or surgery (more on this in a minute).

3. Open fracture

If the bone breaks the surface of your skin or the opening goes down to your bone, this is a serious injury as there may also be considerable damage to your surrounding soft tissues.

4. Comminuted fracture

When your bone breaks into three (or more) pieces, it’s known as a comminuted fracture.

5. Intra-articular fracture

This type of fracture occurs when the bone reaches one of your joints and causes damage.

6. Spiral fracture

With a spiral fracture, the break extends all the way around your bone.

Treating fractures

As we mentioned above, immobilization is one of our frontline treatments for fractures, especially stable ones or breaks in which the bones are close enough to mend on their own.

If you sustain a more severe fracture, we may recommend one of the following options:

Closed reduction

Dr. Wilson realigns the ends of the bone without having to make an incision. Once aligned, we then immobilize the area so that your body can more easily fuse the ends back together.

Open reduction and internal fixation

If we can’t realign your bones externally, Dr. Wilson gains access to the area through an incision and repositions your bones. To keep them in place, he uses specialized hardware. 

External fixation

With this type of fracture repair, Dr. Wilson places a rod in your bone to hold the pieces together and then attaches the rod to an external device.

As you can see, there are many options to help you recover from a fracture, no matter how severe.

If you’d like to learn more about the types of fractures and their treatments, please contact our office in Lexington, Kentucky, to set up an appointment.

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