Human bones are resilient and rigid; they can withstand the most significant forces without injury. However, each bone in the body can be susceptible to a fracture if the pressure applied is strong enough or the bone is in weak health.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may be suffering from a broken or fractured bone:
• Pain, swelling, and/or bruising
• Discolored skin surrounding the affected area
• Angulation: the area may be bent at an obscure angle
• Inability to apply weight to or move the affected area
What is a Fracture?
A fracture is broken bone that can range from a thin crack to a complete break. A bone can fracture cross-wise, length-wise, in several places, or into multiple pieces; depending on severity of the break.
The main categories of fractures include:
• Complete: the bone snaps into two or more parts
• Incomplete: the bone cracks, but does not break entirely
• Simple: The broken ends of the bone line up and do not break through the skin
• Compound: The skin may be pierced by the bone itself or by a blow that breaks the skin at the time of the fracture
Fracture Care at Bucks County Orthopedic Specialists
At Bucks County Orthopedic Specialists, our philosophy is to give our patients the best care possible. We evaluate each patient as an individual and develop a customized treatment plan in order to maximize function and allow their speedy return to daily activities.
The physicians and physician assistants at Bucks County Orthopedic Specialists treat a multitude of fractures, including those that occur from:
• Trauma: A fall, a motor vehicle accident, or a tackle during a football game can all result in fractures
• Pathological Disorders: Fractures caused by medical disorders such as Osteoporosis, which weakens bones and makes them more likely to break
• Overuse: Repetitive motion can tire muscles and place more force on the bone; resulting in stress fractures
Our physicians provide comprehensive care of fractures and general orthopedic issues arising from any part of the human body. Whether surgery is necessary or not, our team will ensure thorough evaluation and treatment of your injury and speed your recovery to the greatest extent possible. In addition, we pride ourselves on a comprehensive assessment of the source of your injury and what steps can be taken to strengthen your musculoskeletal system and prevent injuries from occurring in the future.
If necessary, our practice-affiliated physical therapy gives patients easy access to their physician, should any questions arise. In the case of surgery, we provide 24-hour trauma surgical care coverage through Doylestown Hospital's emergency room. Our office location provides easy access to all free standing health care clinics and primary care physicians in Bucks and Montgomery counties and New Jersey geographic locations.
Your Surgery Experience
For complex or serious fractures, patients may need to undergo surgery in order to treat the break and allow for proper healing. A pre-operative examination is often conducted to ensure patients are in good health before a surgery is performed.
Although each individual is different, the typical experience is as follows:
• Pre-operative patients are most often placed in a splint to allow for swelling to improve before surgery can be performed.
• Patients should not eat or drink after midnight the day before surgery. It is also advised to eat a healthy diet and stay hydrated leading up to surgery.
• Anesthesia will be given before the surgery to eliminate any discomfort, patients will not be allowed to drive themselves home
• In order to deliver the best possible care, surgeries may take longer than the anticipated time provided at scheduling
• Many fracture surgeries are outpatient, allowing patients to return home the same day
• The most severe pain following surgery is typically experienced in the first 3 to 5 days, after that pain levels often decrease to levels that can be managed by over the counter medications. Prescription pain medications and symptomatic care will be prescribed as needed for the periods of severe pain.
• Call the office with any questions or concerns, but specifically watch for fever greater than 101 degrees F, severe pain unrelieved by medications, and bluish color changes of fingers or toes
• Physical therapy may be needed in order to regain strength and movement
How to Care for Your Cast
The most common form of treatment for fractures is through the use of a cast, which prevents the bone pieces from moving while they are able to heal properly. It is important to upkeep your cast to prevent infection and improper healing of the bone.
• Unless you are provided with a waterproof cast, it is important to keep your cast clean and dry; take sponge baths, or cover with a bag while bathing. Never stick anything down into the cast, doing so can scratch or damage your skin and cause infection. Instead, if the itch experienced is overwhelming, take Benadryl to try to relieve the discomfort.
• It is normal to still experience pain in the area of injury while in the cast. If pain becomes persistent in any other area, it may be an indication that the cast is too tight and may need to be re-applied.
• You may get the sensation of pins and needles as though the extremity has "fallen asleep" As long as this feeling comes and goes lasting only for short periods of time this is normal, if they become persistent, call immediately as this could indicate the cast is putting too much pressure on a nerve.