Bones are strong and can bend somewhat in response to pressure. But, when the pressure exceeds a bone’s ability to withstand it, the bone can break, or fracture. Each year, about six million Americans break a bone.
There are three basic causes of broken bones:
- Trauma, including a fall, car accident, or sports injury
- Osteoporosis, which weakens the bones and makes them more likely to break
- Overuse, or repetitive motions, which exerts enough force on the bone to cause a stress fracture
At Dignity Health, we treat broken bones in Sacramento, CA and surrounding areas. Our expert emergency care teams offer the latest techniques for your best treatment. Call 911 or come to one of our six emergency departments in the Greater Sacramento region. For non-limb-threatening conditions, you can use InQuicker™ to select an estimated arrival time online.
Types of Fractures
There are many different types of bone fractures, including:
- Complete fracture: a bone breaks in two pieces
- Compound or “open” fracture: a fracture breaks the skin; bone fragments may be sticking out through the skin
- Stress or “hairline” fracture: a bone is cracked but not broken all the way
- Comminuted fracture: a bone breaks in three or more pieces or is crushed
- Displaced fracture: bone pieces do not line up and are out of place
- Stable fracture: bone pieces line up or are barely out of place
- Oblique fracture: an angled break across the bone
- Transverse fracture: a horizontal break across the bone
Most broken bones are a temporary inconvenience and heal without problems over several weeks. Some are more serious and require lengthy healing and rehabilitation.
Broken Bone Symptoms
Common symptoms of a broken bone include:
- Hearing a snap or grinding noise during the injury
- Difficulty moving the injured area or bearing weight
- Pain or tenderness
Treatment Options for Broken Bones at Dignity Health
The basic principle of treating any broken bone is the same — put the pieces back into position and keep them there while the bone heals. For some fractures, this is a simple process. However, sometimes surgery is necessary to accomplish the goal.
Options for treating broken bones at Dignity Health include:
- Cast immobilization is done using a plaster or fiberglass cast. This is the most common treatment.
- Open reduction and internal fixation is surgery to reposition the bone pieces and hold them together with metal pins, screws, or plates on the surface of the bone.
- Traction repositions bone pieces using a gentle pulling action.
- External fixation is surgery to place metal pins or screws in the pieces of bone. The pins or screws connect to a metal bar on the outside of the skin. This fixation system holds the pieces of bone in place while they heal.
For fractures that involve major joints, such as the hip or shoulder, joint replacement may be part of the treatment plan. If that’s the case, we provide award-winning joint replacement services and can skillfully provide your procedure. Dignity Health offers emergency care for broken and fractured bones in Sacramento region.