Austin Fractures & Broken Bones
Help for Victims of Fractures & Broken Bones in Texas
Fractures are among the most common injuries suffered by victims of Texas motor vehicle accidents. While a fracture injury itself is not typically a life-threatening injury, it can limit a victim’s ability to work for a significant amount of time. In some cases, complications can cause the injury to become life-threatening or may cause the victim to live with lifelong pain.
“Fracture” is simply the medical term used to describe a broken bone. A bone can splinter, crack, snap completely in two or shatter into many pieces. These are all referred to as fracture injuries.
The main types of fractures include:
- Open fracture – An open fracture is a break in which the bone punctures the skin as a result of the injury. This type of fracture increases the risk of infection because of the open wound.
- Closed fracture – A closed fracture is a break that occurs beneath the skin. Although there may be pain, swelling and bruising, there is no exposure of the broken bone.
- Displaced fracture – This is a fracture that causes parts of a bone to get out of alignment. In other words, they are no longer situated end to end as they were prior to the break.
- Non-displaced fracture – In a non-displaced fracture, the bone segments remain in alignment despite the break.
- Impacted fracture – This is a fracture where the ends of the bone have been driven into each other. Also known as a “buckle” fracture, it occurs most often in children. Impacted fractures are commonly located in the arm bones.
- Comminuted fracture – This refers to a type of displaced fracture that occurs when a bone breaks or shatters into numerous pieces.
- Greenstick fracture – This is an incomplete fracture where the bone is bent but not completely fractured. These occur most often in children whose bones are still growing.
- Transverse fracture – This is a fracture that is at a right angle to the bone’s axis.
- Oblique fracture – This refers to a fracture where the break has a curved or sloped pattern to it.
Severity of Broken Bones
The human body contains 206 bones. Some bones are very small, such as those found in the feet, hands and face. Others, such as the thigh and shin bones, are as much as a foot or more in length. The severity of a fracture in any of the bones depends on a number of factors, including:
- Alignment – A bone that remains in alignment (a non-displaced fracture) is often less painful and easier to treat than a displaced fracture. In addition, a displaced fracture can result in bone fragments moving or migrating to other areas of the body, which can cause serious complications.
- Presence of a wound – An open fracture presents the additional risk of infection. An open fracture is also more likely to be a displaced fracture. Overall, the healing time for a fracture that includes an open wound is significantly longer than other fractures.
- Location – The location of a broken bone can impact the treatment plan as well as the healing time. It may also directly impact a victim’s quality of life and ability to work while the fracture is healing.
- Overall health of the victim – Even a simple fracture is often more severe when the victim is very young or very old. Older victims tend to have more brittle bones that take longer to heal. Younger victims have bones that are still growing, meaning they can be difficult to set.
Once a fracture has been confirmed, the area will likely be immobilized for a few days. Ice and anti-inflammatory medications may also be ordered. Casting is usually not done immediately because of the potential for the area around the fracture to swell. If an open wound is present, victims of fractures will be treated to prevent infection as well.
While many fractures can be set and expected to heal completely within a few months, others are more complicated. Surgery may be needed to realign the bones in a dislocated fracture, for instance. A surgeon may be needed only to ensure that the bones are correctly aligned prior to applying a cast in some cases. In other cases, surgery is required to implant metal rods, screws, or plates to hold the bones together, either temporarily or permanently.
Many factors go into determining the long-term outlook for a fracture injury. Some heal completely. However, even a completely healed fracture increases the risk of a future injury to the same area. A fracture that was not caught immediately and partially healed out of alignment can create long-term complications. Likewise, a bone that was severely displaced may never be as strong as it once was.
Find Out How Our Texas Accident Lawyers Can Help You
For more than 30 years, The Bob Richardson Law Firm has worked hard for victims of fractures who have suffered broken bones and other injuries in car accidents throughout Austin, Waco and surrounding Texas communities.