Fracture or Break? How to Determine if You’ll Need a Splint or a Cast

Fracture Or Break

An estimated 6 million Americans will break a bone this year.

If you badly injured a part of your body, you may be wondering if it’s a fracture or break and where you should be going.

Fortunately, there are a few ways you can tell how bad an injury is without needing access to an x-ray machine. Keep reading to find out how you can tell what type of medical care you may need.

What is a Fracture Versus Break?

Medically speaking, a fracture and break are the same. It’s any disruption of the bone’s structure. Medical personnel use both words to describe any broken bone.

Here are a few different ways fractures are described to indicate the level of break being dealt with:

  • Greenstick: A fracture in which the bone is not fully separated from itself
  • Oblique: The break travels diagonally across the bone
  • Transverse: The fracture goes straight across the bone
  • Spiral: The break is in a spiral along the bone
  • Compression: The bone has become crushed from one end so that part of it now appears to be flatter or wider than it should be
  • Segmental: There are two fractures in the bone so that part of the bone is now “floating”
  • Comminuted: A break in which there are at least three pieces of bone present
  • Compound: A fracture which also involves the skin

As you can see, a better question to ask your physician would be “What type of fracture do I have?” rather than if it’s a fracture or a break.

Once your physician has determined what type of break you have, they can decide if you need a cast, a splint, or surgery to allow the bone to heal properly.

What Causes Fractures?

Let’s quickly go through the three things that can cause fractures. This will help you determine if that’s what you may be dealing with.

Acute Trauma

This is any one-time trauma that puts too much force on the bone all at once which causes it to break. Car accidents, falls, and sports injuries are common forms of acute trauma which can lead to broken bones.

Repeated Trauma

On the other hand, lesser trauma that is repeated can also cause breaks which are often known as stress fractures. This is a common injury in runners because of the repeated stress on the bone from running.

Weakened Bone Structure

If your bone becomes weakened because of a disease, it can break with far less force than if it were healthy. It may also break without any force if it becomes weak enough.

Osteoporosis is one of the most common causes of this type of broken bone.

Think You Have a Fracture or Break?

Now you know that a fracture and break are the same thing, but there are different types of them you should be more concerned with.

Only a medical doctor can determine which treatment option will be best for your injury, which is why we recommend getting professional help as soon as possible.

If you live around Oxford and suspect you have fractured a bone, visit us today. You can call ahead for an appointment or walk-in anytime between 8 am and 7 pm.