What Are the 4 Types of Fractures?

What Are the 4 Types of Fractures?

Sustaining a fracture is not uncommon: You can get one suddenly from a fall or impact, or you can develop a fracture over time with repeated stress on a specific area of bone. All fractures share some commonalities, such as pain and the general treatment required, but certain types of fractures are more severe than others.

In any case, when you need fracture care, see Anthony J. Berni, MD, in O’Fallon, Missouri. With an advanced assessment using X-ray imaging, our team can determine what kind of fracture you have and the personalized care needed to help you heal. Dr. Berni specializes in fracture care for broken bones throughout the body, with the exception of the back and neck. 

Finding out what kind of fracture you have is the first step in getting the right treatment. While there are many fracture types, they all fit into these four main fracture categories.

1. Simple fractures

Simple fractures, also called stable fractures or nondisplaced fractures, are broken bones that are both stable and aligned. This makes them relatively easy to treat without surgery. Your body’s own natural healing mechanisms help the bone repair itself. Plus, simple fractures don’t break the skin, so there’s no chance of an infection.

2. Unstable fractures

With an unstable fracture, also called a displaced fracture, the fragments of the broken bone are out of their ideal alignment. Treatment involves aligning those bones so they have the chance to heal properly. As long as the bone fragments haven’t broken through the skin, there isn’t a chance of an infection.

Treating an unstable fracture requires a plaster or fiberglass cast to hold the pieces of bone in alignment as they heal.

3. Open fractures

The “open” in the term “open fracture” refers to a tear or puncture in the skin near the broken bone. This is also called a compound fracture. The sharp end of a fractured bone fragment can penetrate through the tissues and skin overlying the bone, causing an open wound that needs treatment with the fracture itself. When an open fracture happens, you can see the bone. 

Unlike closed fractures, open fractures carry a risk of infection. Treatment for an open fracture involves repairing the bone and mitigating the risk of infection. You might need to take antibiotics at some point during treatment, and you need to keep the wound site clean as it heals. 

4. Closed fractures

Closed fractures, which can be stable or unstable, are fractures that haven’t broken the skin. Common types of closed fractures include:

An in-person evaluation of your fracture gives Dr. Berni all the information he needs to create an individualized treatment plan, whether you need a simple cast or a surgical solution. Schedule an appointment over the phone or online with Anthony J. Berni, MD, for expert orthopedic fracture care today.

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