Achieve Mastery of Medical Concepts

Study for medical school and boards with Lecturio

Overview of Bone Fractures

A fracture is a disruption of the cortex of any bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types and periosteum Periosteum Thin outer membrane that surrounds a bone. It contains connective tissue, capillaries, nerves, and a number of cell types. Bones: Structure and Types and is commonly due to mechanical stress after an injury or accident. Open fractures due to trauma can be a medical emergency. Fractures are frequently associated with automobile accidents, workplace injuries, and trauma. Clinical presentation Presentation The position or orientation of the fetus at near term or during obstetric labor, determined by its relation to the spine of the mother and the birth canal. The normal position is a vertical, cephalic presentation with the fetal vertex flexed on the neck. Normal and Abnormal Labor varies depending on the cause and location of the injury, but generally includes deformity Deformity Examination of the Upper Limbs, pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways, edema Edema Edema is a condition in which excess serous fluid accumulates in the body cavity or interstitial space of connective tissues. Edema is a symptom observed in several medical conditions. It can be categorized into 2 types, namely, peripheral (in the extremities) and internal (in an organ or body cavity). Edema, and inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body's defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation. Diagnosis is made clinically and confirmed with imaging, and management may be with splinting or may require surgery.

Last updated: 15 Mar, 2022

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Overview

Definition

A fracture is a disruption in the cortex of a bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types

Epidemiology

  • Around 50 million/year in the United States
  • Closely associated with the prevalence Prevalence The total number of cases of a given disease in a specified population at a designated time. It is differentiated from incidence, which refers to the number of new cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency and incidence Incidence The number of new cases of a given disease during a given period in a specified population. It also is used for the rate at which new events occur in a defined population. It is differentiated from prevalence, which refers to all cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency of:
    • Automobile accidents
    • Occupational injuries
    • Trauma
  • Increased in patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with comorbid conditions that predispose them to falls:
    • Epilepsy Epilepsy Epilepsy is a chronic brain disorder marked by recurrent and unprovoked seizures. These seizures can be classified as focal or generalized and idiopathic or secondary to another condition. Clinical presentation correlates to the classification of the epileptic disorder. Epilepsy
    • Syncope Syncope Syncope is a short-term loss of consciousness and loss of postural stability followed by spontaneous return of consciousness to the previous neurologic baseline without the need for resuscitation. The condition is caused by transient interruption of cerebral blood flow that may be benign or related to a underlying life-threatening condition. Syncope
    • Osteoporosis Osteoporosis Osteoporosis refers to a decrease in bone mass and density leading to an increased number of fractures. There are 2 forms of osteoporosis: primary, which is commonly postmenopausal or senile; and secondary, which is a manifestation of immobilization, underlying medical disorders, or long-term use of certain medications. Osteoporosis
  • Men > women

Classification

Different types of fractures

Types of fractures

Image: “Types of Fractures” by OpenStax. License: CC BY 4.0

Risk factors

  • Smoking Smoking Willful or deliberate act of inhaling and exhaling smoke from burning substances or agents held by hand. Interstitial Lung Diseases
  • Osteoporosis Osteoporosis Osteoporosis refers to a decrease in bone mass and density leading to an increased number of fractures. There are 2 forms of osteoporosis: primary, which is commonly postmenopausal or senile; and secondary, which is a manifestation of immobilization, underlying medical disorders, or long-term use of certain medications. Osteoporosis
  • Diabetes Diabetes Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic disease characterized by hyperglycemia and dysfunction of the regulation of glucose metabolism by insulin. Type 1 DM is diagnosed mostly in children and young adults as the result of autoimmune destruction of β cells in the pancreas and the resulting lack of insulin. Type 2 DM has a significant association with obesity and is characterized by insulin resistance. Diabetes Mellitus
  • Immunosuppression with steroids Steroids A group of polycyclic compounds closely related biochemically to terpenes. They include cholesterol, numerous hormones, precursors of certain vitamins, bile acids, alcohols (sterols), and certain natural drugs and poisons. Steroids have a common nucleus, a fused, reduced 17-carbon atom ring system, cyclopentanoperhydrophenanthrene. Most steroids also have two methyl groups and an aliphatic side-chain attached to the nucleus. Benign Liver Tumors
  • Age

Pathophysiology

The general principle behind all fractures is that the bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types is subjected to a load that overcomes the bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types‘s bearing capacity, leading to loss of structural integrity. 

  • Traumatic mechanisms of fracture:
    • Blunt: direct transference Transference The unconscious transfer to others (including psychotherapists) of feelings and attitudes which were originally associated with important figures (parents, siblings, etc.) in one’s early life. Psychotherapy of energy by a blunt object
    • Penetrating: direct discontinuity of tissues by sharp objects or gunshot
    • Blast: transference Transference The unconscious transfer to others (including psychotherapists) of feelings and attitudes which were originally associated with important figures (parents, siblings, etc.) in one’s early life. Psychotherapy of kinetic energy by the blast wave that results from explosive devices
  • Primary fracture healing: achieved with the proper anatomic reduction of the fractured segments 
    • Hematoma Hematoma A collection of blood outside the blood vessels. Hematoma can be localized in an organ, space, or tissue. Intussusception formation: 1st 5 days 
    • Fibrocartilaginous callus Fibrocartilaginous callus Bones: Remodeling and Healing formation: days 5–11
    • Bony callus Bony callus The bony deposit formed between and around the broken ends of bone fractures during normal healing. Bones: Remodeling and Healing formation: days 11–18
    • Bone remodeling Bone remodeling The continuous turnover of bone matrix and mineral that involves first an increase in bone resorption (osteoclastic activity) and later, reactive bone formation (osteoblastic activity). The process of bone remodeling takes place in the adult skeleton at discrete foci. The process ensures the mechanical integrity of the skeleton throughout life and plays an important role in calcium homeostasis. An imbalance in the regulation of bone remodeling’s two contrasting events, bone resorption and bone formation, results in many of the metabolic bone diseases, such as osteoporosis. Bones: Remodeling and Healing: from day 18 and continuing for many months
  • Secondary healing occurs when anatomic reduction or compression Compression Blunt Chest Trauma is not feasible: 
    • Fracture phase
    • Soft callus formation
    • Hard callus formation
    • Remodeling phase

Clinical Presentation

A thorough history with recent injury or fall details, risk factors for fracture, medications, and past history of a previous fracture are all important.

History

  • Fall: How did it occur?
  • Recent trauma: 
    • Automobile accident
    • Injury
    • Struck with an object
  • Sudden onset of pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways 
  • Inability to move the affected body part
  • Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with osteoporosis Osteoporosis Osteoporosis refers to a decrease in bone mass and density leading to an increased number of fractures. There are 2 forms of osteoporosis: primary, which is commonly postmenopausal or senile; and secondary, which is a manifestation of immobilization, underlying medical disorders, or long-term use of certain medications. Osteoporosis may experience no- or low-impact trauma.
  • Less acute causes of fractures:
    • Stress fractures Stress Fractures Fractures due to the strain caused by repetitive exercise. They are thought to arise from a combination of muscle fatigue and bone failure, and occur in situations where bone remodeling predominates over repair. The most common sites of stress fractures are the metatarsus, fibula, tibia, and femoral neck. Chronic Apophyseal Injury can occur with repeated impact, such as with running:
      • Can be missed on an X-ray X-ray Penetrating electromagnetic radiation emitted when the inner orbital electrons of an atom are excited and release radiant energy. X-ray wavelengths range from 1 pm to 10 nm. Hard x-rays are the higher energy, shorter wavelength x-rays. Soft x-rays or grenz rays are less energetic and longer in wavelength. The short wavelength end of the x-ray spectrum overlaps the gamma rays wavelength range. The distinction between gamma rays and x-rays is based on their radiation source. Pulmonary Function Tests
      • More easily diagnosed on an MRI or a bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types scan
    • Avascular necrosis Avascular Necrosis Hip Fractures can cause fracture of the scaphoid bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types in the hand Hand The hand constitutes the distal part of the upper limb and provides the fine, precise movements needed in activities of daily living. It consists of 5 metacarpal bones and 14 phalanges, as well as numerous muscles innervated by the median and ulnar nerves. Hand: Anatomy or the femoral head in the hip.

Physical examination

  • Deformity Deformity Examination of the Upper Limbs of the affected location (e.g., hip fracture)
  • Pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways exacerbated on palpation Palpation Application of fingers with light pressure to the surface of the body to determine consistency of parts beneath in physical diagnosis; includes palpation for determining the outlines of organs. Dermatologic Examination and percussion Percussion Act of striking a part with short, sharp blows as an aid in diagnosing the condition beneath the sound obtained. Pulmonary Examination
  • Edema Edema Edema is a condition in which excess serous fluid accumulates in the body cavity or interstitial space of connective tissues. Edema is a symptom observed in several medical conditions. It can be categorized into 2 types, namely, peripheral (in the extremities) and internal (in an organ or body cavity). Edema and inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation
  • Crepitus Crepitus Osteoarthritis on palpation Palpation Application of fingers with light pressure to the surface of the body to determine consistency of parts beneath in physical diagnosis; includes palpation for determining the outlines of organs. Dermatologic Examination 
  • Immobility due to pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways
  • Joint instability
  • Inability to bear weight due to pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways 
  • Signs of compartment syndrome Compartment Syndrome Compartment syndrome is a surgical emergency usually occurring secondary to trauma. The condition is marked by increased pressure within a compartment that compromises the circulation and function of the tissues within that space. Compartment Syndrome:
    • Coldness of the distal extremity
    • Paresthesias Paresthesias Subjective cutaneous sensations (e.g., cold, warmth, tingling, pressure, etc.) that are experienced spontaneously in the absence of stimulation. Posterior Cord Syndrome or paresis Paresis A general term referring to a mild to moderate degree of muscular weakness, occasionally used as a synonym for paralysis (severe or complete loss of motor function). In the older literature, paresis often referred specifically to paretic neurosyphilis. ‘general paresis’ and ‘general paralysis’ may still carry that connotation. Bilateral lower extremity paresis is referred to as paraparesis. Spinal Disk Herniation
    • Reduced sensation
    • Absent pulses
    • Volkmann contracture (prolonged ischemia Ischemia A hypoperfusion of the blood through an organ or tissue caused by a pathologic constriction or obstruction of its blood vessels, or an absence of blood circulation. Ischemic Cell Damage)
  • Other signs in the context of a patient with trauma:
    • Hematomas/ ecchymosis Ecchymosis Extravasation of blood into the skin, resulting in a nonelevated, rounded or irregular, blue or purplish patch, larger than a petechia. Orbital Fractures
    • Excoriations Excoriations Excoriation is a linear abrasion produced by mechanical means (scratching, rubbing, or picking) that usually involves only the epidermis but can reach the papillary dermis. Secondary Skin Lesions/lacerations

Related videos

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of a possible fracture is made clinically initially and confirmed on diagnostic imaging.

Imaging

  • X-ray X-ray Penetrating electromagnetic radiation emitted when the inner orbital electrons of an atom are excited and release radiant energy. X-ray wavelengths range from 1 pm to 10 nm. Hard x-rays are the higher energy, shorter wavelength x-rays. Soft x-rays or grenz rays are less energetic and longer in wavelength. The short wavelength end of the x-ray spectrum overlaps the gamma rays wavelength range. The distinction between gamma rays and x-rays is based on their radiation source. Pulmonary Function Tests findings: fracture lines/discontinuity of anatomy
    • Linear lucency
    • Sharp angles
    • No surrounding cortex at the fracture site
    • Irregular margins
    • False positive False positive An FP test result indicates that a person has the disease when they do not. Epidemiological Values of Diagnostic Tests readings:
      • Can be due to nutrient vessels that appear as linear lucencies
      • Nutrient canals are smooth and have a sclerotic margin.
      • Accessory ossicles: bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types fragments that form a secondary ossification center Secondary ossification center Development of the Limbs and are not due to a fracture
      • Sesamoid bones Sesamoid Bones Nodular bones which lie within a tendon and slide over another bony surface. The kneecap is a sesamoid bone. Foot: Anatomy: extra “ bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types islands” that form in a tendon
  • Ultrasonography:
    • High sensitivity Sensitivity Binary classification measures to assess test results. Sensitivity or recall rate is the proportion of true positives. Blotting Techniques and specificity Specificity Specificity is the probability of correctly determining the absence of a condition. Immunoassays
    • Used in emergency departments and sports facilities 
    • No ionizing radiation Radiation Emission or propagation of acoustic waves (sound), electromagnetic energy waves (such as light; radio waves; gamma rays; or x-rays), or a stream of subatomic particles (such as electrons; neutrons; protons; or alpha particles). Osteosarcoma
  • CT scan and MRI:
    • Beneficial for stress fractures Stress Fractures Fractures due to the strain caused by repetitive exercise. They are thought to arise from a combination of muscle fatigue and bone failure, and occur in situations where bone remodeling predominates over repair. The most common sites of stress fractures are the metatarsus, fibula, tibia, and femoral neck. Chronic Apophyseal Injury or spinal fractures
    • Provide good visualization of the fracture site and possible displacement Displacement The process by which an emotional or behavioral response that is appropriate for one situation appears in another situation for which it is inappropriate. Defense Mechanisms

Descriptions of fractures on imaging

  • Location
  • Displaced or nondisplaced
  • Extent:
    • Complete: extends through the entire cortex
      • More common in adults
      • Transverse: perpendicular to the long axis Axis The second cervical vertebra. Vertebral Column: Anatomy of the bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types
      • Oblique: diagonal to the long access of the bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types.
      • Spiral Spiral Computed tomography where there is continuous x-ray exposure to the patient while being transported in a spiral or helical pattern through the beam of irradiation. This provides improved three-dimensional contrast and spatial resolution compared to conventional computed tomography, where data is obtained and computed from individual sequential exposures. Computed Tomography (CT): caused by a twisting force
    • Incomplete: extends through only part of the cortex 
      • Most commonly seen in children
      • Greenstick fracture Greenstick fracture The bones of growing children exhibit unique characteristics, which, combined with the unique mechanisms of injury seen in children, result in fracture patterns differing significantly from those common in adults. The greenstick fracture is an incomplete fracture usually seen in long bones. Greenstick Fracture
      • Buckle fracture Buckle Fracture Buckle or Torus Fracture
  • Comminuted: produces > 2 fragments
    • Segmental: Central portion of the bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types shaft becomes an isolated segment.
    • Butterfly: Central portion has a triangular shape.
  • Simple: produces only 2 fragments
  • Intraarticular (crosses a joint surface) or extraarticular (does not cross)
  • Integrity of limb compartments:
    • Closed: Fractured ends remain within their original compartment.
    • Open fractures:
      • 1 or both fractured ends pierce through the skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions and end up exposed.
      • May have active bleeding
  • Displacement Displacement The process by which an emotional or behavioral response that is appropriate for one situation appears in another situation for which it is inappropriate. Defense Mechanisms: describes the amount by which the distal segment is offset from the proximal segment
    • Angulation Angulation Buckle or Torus Fracture: the degree to which the distal segment is angulated from its original position
    • Override: the amount by which the proximal and distal fragments overlap each other
  • Impaction: the amount by which the distal fragment has impacted into the proximal fragment
  • Distraction: how far apart the proximal and distal fragments are (the opposite of overlap)
  • Avulsion fracture: a bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types fragment that is “pulled off” by a ligament or a tendon
Spiral fracture on x-ray

Example of a spiral Spiral Computed tomography where there is continuous x-ray exposure to the patient while being transported in a spiral or helical pattern through the beam of irradiation. This provides improved three-dimensional contrast and spatial resolution compared to conventional computed tomography, where data is obtained and computed from individual sequential exposures. Computed Tomography (CT) fracture of the fibula Fibula The bone of the lower leg lateral to and smaller than the tibia. In proportion to its length, it is the most slender of the long bones. Leg: Anatomy on an anteroposterior (AP) projection Projection A defense mechanism, operating unconsciously, whereby that which is emotionally unacceptable in the self is rejected and attributed (projected) to others. Defense Mechanisms of the ankle

Image by Hetal Verma, MD. License: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Secondary findings

Gustilo and Anderson classification of open fractures

  • Grade 1: clean wound < 1 cm in length, simple fracture
  • Grade 2: open wound 1–10 cm, no flaps or extensive tissue damage
  • Grade 3: open segmental fracture with extensive soft tissue Soft Tissue Soft Tissue Abscess injuries, also includes wounds more > 8 hours old
  • Grade 3a: adequate soft tissue Soft Tissue Soft Tissue Abscess covering of the fracture despite extensive soft tissue Soft Tissue Soft Tissue Abscess damage
  • Grade 3b: inadequate soft tissue Soft Tissue Soft Tissue Abscess covering; periosteal stripping
  • Grade 3c: open fracture with a vascular injury that requires surgery for viability of the limb

Management

The goal of fracture management by reducing it and allowing the normal healing process to take place is to restore the anatomy, reduce pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways, and allow the patient to return to the previous level of functioning.

Manipulative reduction and immobilization Immobilization Delirium (splints)

  • Fractured ends are manipulated back into position and immobilized using a splint or a cast. 
  • Successful reduction should be achieved within a few hours after the injury.
  • Reduction is either the definitive management or temporary until surgery can be performed.
  • An X-ray X-ray Penetrating electromagnetic radiation emitted when the inner orbital electrons of an atom are excited and release radiant energy. X-ray wavelengths range from 1 pm to 10 nm. Hard x-rays are the higher energy, shorter wavelength x-rays. Soft x-rays or grenz rays are less energetic and longer in wavelength. The short wavelength end of the x-ray spectrum overlaps the gamma rays wavelength range. The distinction between gamma rays and x-rays is based on their radiation source. Pulmonary Function Tests must be obtained after immobilization Immobilization Delirium to ensure adequate reduction.

Open fractures

Open fractures require prompt management in the emergency department and transfer to the operating room (OR) for definitive management and hospitalization Hospitalization The confinement of a patient in a hospital. Delirium.

  • “Rule of 3” irrigation with normal saline Normal saline A crystalloid solution that contains 9. 0g of sodium chloride per liter of water. It has a variety of uses, including: as a contact lens solution, in ophthalmic solutions and nasal lavage, in wound irrigation, and for fluid therapy. Intravenous Fluids (according to Gustilo and Anderson):
    • Grade 1: 3 L
    • Grade 2: 6 L
    • Grade 3: 9 L
    • Continues in the OR
  • Debridement Debridement The removal of foreign material and devitalized or contaminated tissue from or adjacent to a traumatic or infected lesion until surrounding healthy tissue is exposed. Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and removal of contaminating debris
  • Tetanus Tetanus Tetanus is a bacterial infection caused by Clostridium tetani, a gram-positive obligate anaerobic bacterium commonly found in soil that enters the body through a contaminated wound. C. tetani produces a neurotoxin that blocks the release of inhibitory neurotransmitters and causes prolonged tonic muscle contractions. Tetanus prophylaxis Prophylaxis Cephalosporins if: 
    • Patient has not completed the tetanus Tetanus Tetanus is a bacterial infection caused by Clostridium tetani, a gram-positive obligate anaerobic bacterium commonly found in soil that enters the body through a contaminated wound. C. tetani produces a neurotoxin that blocks the release of inhibitory neurotransmitters and causes prolonged tonic muscle contractions. Tetanus toxoid Toxoid Preparations of pathogenic organisms or their derivatives made nontoxic and intended for active immunologic prophylaxis. They include deactivated toxins. Anatoxin toxoids are distinct from anatoxins that are tropanes found in cyanobacteria. Vaccination immunization series
    • No booster in the past 5 years
    • If there is a high likelihood of Clostridium tetani Clostridium tetani The cause of tetanus in humans and domestic animals. It is a common inhabitant of human and horse intestines as well as soil. Two components make up its potent exotoxin activity, a neurotoxin and a hemolytic toxin. Tetanus contamination → tetanus Tetanus Tetanus is a bacterial infection caused by Clostridium tetani, a gram-positive obligate anaerobic bacterium commonly found in soil that enters the body through a contaminated wound. C. tetani produces a neurotoxin that blocks the release of inhibitory neurotransmitters and causes prolonged tonic muscle contractions. Tetanus toxoid Toxoid Preparations of pathogenic organisms or their derivatives made nontoxic and intended for active immunologic prophylaxis. They include deactivated toxins. Anatoxin toxoids are distinct from anatoxins that are tropanes found in cyanobacteria. Vaccination + human tetanus Tetanus Tetanus is a bacterial infection caused by Clostridium tetani, a gram-positive obligate anaerobic bacterium commonly found in soil that enters the body through a contaminated wound. C. tetani produces a neurotoxin that blocks the release of inhibitory neurotransmitters and causes prolonged tonic muscle contractions. Tetanus immunoglobulin (HTIG)
  • Antibiotics
  • Sterile Sterile Basic Procedures dressing
  • Immobilization Immobilization Delirium
  • Analgesia Analgesia Methods of pain relief that may be used with or in place of analgesics. Anesthesiology: History and Basic Concepts as needed

Complications

  • Neurovascular injury: Chronic numbness or paresthesia may result in the area of a fracture depending on the extent of injury to the nerves in that area.
  • Deep vein thrombosis Deep vein thrombosis Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) usually occurs in the deep veins of the lower extremities. The affected veins include the femoral, popliteal, iliofemoral, and pelvic veins. Proximal DVT is more likely to cause a pulmonary embolism (PE) and is generally considered more serious. Deep Vein Thrombosis ( DVT DVT Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) usually occurs in the deep veins of the lower extremities. The affected veins include the femoral, popliteal, iliofemoral, and pelvic veins. Proximal DVT is more likely to cause a pulmonary embolism (PE) and is generally considered more serious. Deep Vein Thrombosis): 
    • Blood clots can form in the arm Arm The arm, or “upper arm” in common usage, is the region of the upper limb that extends from the shoulder to the elbow joint and connects inferiorly to the forearm through the cubital fossa. It is divided into 2 fascial compartments (anterior and posterior). Arm: Anatomy or leg Leg The lower leg, or just “leg” in anatomical terms, is the part of the lower limb between the knee and the ankle joint. The bony structure is composed of the tibia and fibula bones, and the muscles of the leg are grouped into the anterior, lateral, and posterior compartments by extensions of fascia. Leg: Anatomy veins Veins Veins are tubular collections of cells, which transport deoxygenated blood and waste from the capillary beds back to the heart. Veins are classified into 3 types: small veins/venules, medium veins, and large veins. Each type contains 3 primary layers: tunica intima, tunica media, and tunica adventitia. Veins: Histology after a period of immobility and decreased activity.  
    • Anticoagulants Anticoagulants Anticoagulants are drugs that retard or interrupt the coagulation cascade. The primary classes of available anticoagulants include heparins, vitamin K-dependent antagonists (e.g., warfarin), direct thrombin inhibitors, and factor Xa inhibitors. Anticoagulants are indicated if the patient is at high risk for DVT DVT Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) usually occurs in the deep veins of the lower extremities. The affected veins include the femoral, popliteal, iliofemoral, and pelvic veins. Proximal DVT is more likely to cause a pulmonary embolism (PE) and is generally considered more serious. Deep Vein Thrombosis.
  • Fat embolism Fat embolism Blocking of a blood vessel by fat deposits in the circulation. It is often seen after fractures of large bones or after administration of corticosteroids. Nonthrombotic Embolism
    • Can occur from fat in the bone marrow Bone marrow The soft tissue filling the cavities of bones. Bone marrow exists in two types, yellow and red. Yellow marrow is found in the large cavities of large bones and consists mostly of fat cells and a few primitive blood cells. Red marrow is a hematopoietic tissue and is the site of production of erythrocytes and granular leukocytes. Bone marrow is made up of a framework of connective tissue containing branching fibers with the frame being filled with marrow cells. Bone Marrow: Composition and Hematopoiesis traveling through a blood vessel after a fracture
    • Similar consequences as with a thrombotic embolism
  • Compartment syndrome Compartment Syndrome Compartment syndrome is a surgical emergency usually occurring secondary to trauma. The condition is marked by increased pressure within a compartment that compromises the circulation and function of the tissues within that space. Compartment Syndrome:
    • A surgical emergency Surgical Emergency Acute Abdomen
    • Usually secondary to trauma
    • Marked by increased pressure within a compartment that compromises the circulation Circulation The movement of the blood as it is pumped through the cardiovascular system. ABCDE Assessment
    • Long-bone fractures are the most common cause, with the leg Leg The lower leg, or just “leg” in anatomical terms, is the part of the lower limb between the knee and the ankle joint. The bony structure is composed of the tibia and fibula bones, and the muscles of the leg are grouped into the anterior, lateral, and posterior compartments by extensions of fascia. Leg: Anatomy and forearm Forearm The forearm is the region of the upper limb between the elbow and the wrist. The term “forearm” is used in anatomy to distinguish this area from the arm, a term that is commonly used to describe the entire upper limb. The forearm consists of 2 long bones (the radius and the ulna), the interosseous membrane, and multiple arteries, nerves, and muscles. Forearm: Anatomy compartments frequently affected.
  • Osteomyelitis Osteomyelitis Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone that results from the spread of microorganisms from the blood (hematogenous), nearby infected tissue, or open wounds (non-hematogenous). Infections are most commonly caused by Staphylococcus aureus. Osteomyelitis: bone infection Bone infection Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone that results from the spread of microorganisms from the blood (hematogenous), nearby infected tissue, or open wounds (non-hematogenous). Infections are most commonly caused by staphylococcus aureus. Osteomyelitis
    • Results from the spread of microorganisms from wounds associated with an open fracture
    • Most commonly caused by Staphylococcus aureus Staphylococcus aureus Potentially pathogenic bacteria found in nasal membranes, skin, hair follicles, and perineum of warm-blooded animals. They may cause a wide range of infections and intoxications. Brain Abscess
  • Nonunion Nonunion Hip Fractures of the proximal and distal ends: failure to heal properly
  • Premature Premature Childbirth before 37 weeks of pregnancy (259 days from the first day of the mother’s last menstrual period, or 245 days after fertilization). Necrotizing Enterocolitis osteoarthritis Osteoarthritis Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, and is due to cartilage destruction and changes of the subchondral bone. The risk of developing this disorder increases with age, obesity, and repetitive joint use or trauma. Patients develop gradual joint pain, stiffness lasting < 30 minutes, and decreased range of motion. Osteoarthritis:
    • Due to cartilage Cartilage Cartilage is a type of connective tissue derived from embryonic mesenchyme that is responsible for structural support, resilience, and the smoothness of physical actions. Perichondrium (connective tissue membrane surrounding cartilage) compensates for the absence of vasculature in cartilage by providing nutrition and support. Cartilage: Histology destruction and changes of the subchondral bone Subchondral Bone Osteochondritis Dissecans
    • Increased risk with:
      • Older age
      • Obesity Obesity Obesity is a condition associated with excess body weight, specifically with the deposition of excessive adipose tissue. Obesity is considered a global epidemic. Major influences come from the western diet and sedentary lifestyles, but the exact mechanisms likely include a mixture of genetic and environmental factors. Obesity
      • Repetitive joint use
      • Trauma
  • Complex regional pain Regional Pain Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) syndrome:
    • A condition characterized by chronic pain Chronic pain Aching sensation that persists for more than a few months. It may or may not be associated with trauma or disease, and may persist after the initial injury has healed. Its localization, character, and timing are more vague than with acute pain. Pain Management, often of the distal limbs
    • Can occur after a fracture or surgery and is difficult to manage

Differential Diagnosis

  • Sprains: traumatic elongation Elongation Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) of the ligaments of a joint, causing inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation, ecchymosis Ecchymosis Extravasation of blood into the skin, resulting in a nonelevated, rounded or irregular, blue or purplish patch, larger than a petechia. Orbital Fractures, edema Edema Edema is a condition in which excess serous fluid accumulates in the body cavity or interstitial space of connective tissues. Edema is a symptom observed in several medical conditions. It can be categorized into 2 types, namely, peripheral (in the extremities) and internal (in an organ or body cavity). Edema, intense pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways, and inability to bear weight. Sprains account for 20% of sports-related injuries.
  • Malignancy Malignancy Hemothorax: fractures after a minor injury should raise suspicion of an underlying malignant process, such as metastatic prostate Prostate The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system. The gland surrounds the bladder neck and a portion of the urethra. The prostate is an exocrine gland that produces a weakly acidic secretion, which accounts for roughly 20% of the seminal fluid. , lung, breast cancer Breast cancer Breast cancer is a disease characterized by malignant transformation of the epithelial cells of the breast. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer and 2nd most common cause of cancer-related death among women. Breast Cancer, or multiple myeloma Multiple myeloma Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant condition of plasma cells (activated B lymphocytes) primarily seen in the elderly. Monoclonal proliferation of plasma cells results in cytokine-driven osteoclastic activity and excessive secretion of IgG antibodies. Multiple Myeloma. Diagnosis is made by imaging and possible biopsy Biopsy Removal and pathologic examination of specimens from the living body. Ewing Sarcoma, and management of the underlying pathology is indicated.
  • Osteoporosis Osteoporosis Osteoporosis refers to a decrease in bone mass and density leading to an increased number of fractures. There are 2 forms of osteoporosis: primary, which is commonly postmenopausal or senile; and secondary, which is a manifestation of immobilization, underlying medical disorders, or long-term use of certain medications. Osteoporosis: severe demineralization with low bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types density can cause fractures with little stress on the bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types, such as with coughing, bending, or minor injuries. Osteoporosis Osteoporosis Osteoporosis refers to a decrease in bone mass and density leading to an increased number of fractures. There are 2 forms of osteoporosis: primary, which is commonly postmenopausal or senile; and secondary, which is a manifestation of immobilization, underlying medical disorders, or long-term use of certain medications. Osteoporosis most often presents clinically with frequent fractures and loss of vertebral height. Diagnosis is established by measuring bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types mineral density. Management includes lifestyle modifications, maintaining adequate levels of calcium Calcium A basic element found in nearly all tissues. It is a member of the alkaline earth family of metals with the atomic symbol ca, atomic number 20, and atomic weight 40. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and combines with phosphorus to form calcium phosphate in the bones and teeth. It is essential for the normal functioning of nerves and muscles and plays a role in blood coagulation (as factor IV) and in many enzymatic processes. Electrolytes and vitamin D Vitamin D A vitamin that includes both cholecalciferols and ergocalciferols, which have the common effect of preventing or curing rickets in animals. It can also be viewed as a hormone since it can be formed in skin by action of ultraviolet rays upon the precursors, 7-dehydrocholesterol and ergosterol, and acts on vitamin D receptors to regulate calcium in opposition to parathyroid hormone. Fat-soluble Vitamins and their Deficiencies, and the use of bisphosphonates Bisphosphonates Bisphosphonates are pyrophosphate analogs most well-known for treating osteoporosis by preventing bone loss. Bisphosphonates end in the suffix “-dronate” or “-dronic acid” (e.g., alendronate, risedronate, pamidronate) and bind to hydroxyapatite crystals in bone, inhibiting osteoclast-induced bone resorption. Bisphosphonates.
  • Rickets Rickets Disorders caused by interruption of bone mineralization manifesting as osteomalacia in adults and characteristic deformities in infancy and childhood due to disturbances in normal bone formation. The mineralization process may be interrupted by disruption of vitamin d; phosphorus; or calcium homeostasis, resulting from dietary deficiencies, or acquired, or inherited metabolic, or hormonal disturbances. Osteomalacia and Rickets and osteomalacia Osteomalacia Disorder caused by an interruption of the mineralization of organic bone matrix leading to bone softening, bone pain, and weakness. It is the adult form of rickets resulting from disruption of vitamin d; phosphorus; or calcium homeostasis. Osteomalacia and Rickets: disorders of decreased bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types mineralization. Rickets Rickets Disorders caused by interruption of bone mineralization manifesting as osteomalacia in adults and characteristic deformities in infancy and childhood due to disturbances in normal bone formation. The mineralization process may be interrupted by disruption of vitamin d; phosphorus; or calcium homeostasis, resulting from dietary deficiencies, or acquired, or inherited metabolic, or hormonal disturbances. Osteomalacia and Rickets can be due to severe vitamin D deficiency Vitamin D Deficiency A nutritional condition produced by a deficiency of vitamin D in the diet, insufficient production of vitamin D in the skin, inadequate absorption of vitamin D from the diet, or abnormal conversion of vitamin D to its bioactive metabolites. It is manifested clinically as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Fat-soluble Vitamins and their Deficiencies or genetic disorders. Rickets Rickets Disorders caused by interruption of bone mineralization manifesting as osteomalacia in adults and characteristic deformities in infancy and childhood due to disturbances in normal bone formation. The mineralization process may be interrupted by disruption of vitamin d; phosphorus; or calcium homeostasis, resulting from dietary deficiencies, or acquired, or inherited metabolic, or hormonal disturbances. Osteomalacia and Rickets commonly presents with skeletal deformities and growth abnormalities, while osteomalacia Osteomalacia Disorder caused by an interruption of the mineralization of organic bone matrix leading to bone softening, bone pain, and weakness. It is the adult form of rickets resulting from disruption of vitamin d; phosphorus; or calcium homeostasis. Osteomalacia and Rickets can present with bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways, difficulty with ambulation, and pathologic fractures. Diagnosis is made on the basis of a combination of clinical findings, laboratory tests, and imaging. Treatment includes vitamin D Vitamin D A vitamin that includes both cholecalciferols and ergocalciferols, which have the common effect of preventing or curing rickets in animals. It can also be viewed as a hormone since it can be formed in skin by action of ultraviolet rays upon the precursors, 7-dehydrocholesterol and ergosterol, and acts on vitamin D receptors to regulate calcium in opposition to parathyroid hormone. Fat-soluble Vitamins and their Deficiencies, calcium Calcium A basic element found in nearly all tissues. It is a member of the alkaline earth family of metals with the atomic symbol ca, atomic number 20, and atomic weight 40. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and combines with phosphorus to form calcium phosphate in the bones and teeth. It is essential for the normal functioning of nerves and muscles and plays a role in blood coagulation (as factor IV) and in many enzymatic processes. Electrolytes, and phosphorus supplementation.

References

  1. Browner, B., et al. (2020). Skeletal trauma: basic science, management, and reconstruction. Philadelphia: Elsevier.
  2. Cross, W. W., 3rd, Swiontkowski, M. F. (2008). Treatment principles in the management of open fractures. Indian Journal of Orthopaedics 42(4):377–386. https://doi.org/10.4103/0019-5413.43373
  3. Sheen, J. R., Garla, V. V. (2021). Fracture healing overview. StatPearls. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551678/
  4. Derby, R., Beutler, A. (2018). General principles of acute fracture management. UpToDate. Retrieved June 3, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/general-principles-of-acute-fracture-management

USMLE™ is a joint program of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB®) and National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME®). MCAT is a registered trademark of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). NCLEX®, NCLEX-RN®, and NCLEX-PN® are registered trademarks of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc (NCSBN®). None of the trademark holders are endorsed by nor affiliated with Lecturio.

Study on the Go

Lecturio Medical complements your studies with evidence-based learning strategies, video lectures, quiz questions, and more – all combined in one easy-to-use resource.

Learn even more with Lecturio:

Complement your med school studies with Lecturio’s all-in-one study companion, delivered with evidence-based learning strategies.

User Reviews

¡Hola!

Esta página está disponible en Español.

🍪 Lecturio is using cookies to improve your user experience. By continuing use of our service you agree upon our Data Privacy Statement.

Details