What Are the Different Ways to Treat a Bone Fracture?

Patti Kate
Patti Kate
Casts are often used to treat bone fractures.
Casts are often used to treat bone fractures.

The most effective way to treat a bone fracture will typically depend upon what type of bone break is involved. A simple hairline fracture may require nothing more than using an over-the-counter pain reliever for a day or two and allowing the fracture to heal on its own. In some cases, treatments for a bone fracture may involve setting the affected part in a cast. The treatment for a bone fracture resulting in serious bone injuries may involve surgery.

A severe hip fracture may need hip replacement surgery to fix.
A severe hip fracture may need hip replacement surgery to fix.

At the first sign of a suspected bone fracture, the patient should immobilize the affected area. If the injury is a closed fracture with no broken skin or sign of shock, the patient may not be immediate danger, although medical attention should be sought. Open fractures are more serious and pose more threat of complications, therefore should be treated as soon as possible.

Some bone fractures require a cast.
Some bone fractures require a cast.

A unqualified individual should never attempt to treat a bone fracture of the skull. Head injuries involving suspected skull fractures require immediate medial care. Unless in a life-threatening situation, a patient with a suspected head injury or fractured skull should only be moved by paramedics or physicians.

Physicians and orthopedic specialists will typically treat a bone fracture after looking at an X-ray of the injury. In some cases, a broken bone might require realignment. This procedure must be done by a qualified medical professional. After manipulation of the affected area, the doctor may decide to set the bone in a cast to prevent further injury as the injury heals.

Surgeons may insert plates or pins to connect fractured bones together.
Surgeons may insert plates or pins to connect fractured bones together.

To treat a bone fracture caused by massive trauma, such as an automobile crash, a physician will typically first order diagnostic tests and X-rays to check for other injuries. If a broken bone has caused significant bleeding or damage to an internal organ, a surgeon may need to operate to repair the internal damage.

Multiple fractures that have caused misalignment may also require invasive treatment, such as surgical insertion of metal screws and pins. In the case of severe injury, when bone is crushed beyond repair, a total replacement of the affected joint may be necessary. This is often seen in knee or hip injuries, where total or partial knee or hip replacement is performed.

Paramedics often use neck braces to prevent further damage if a neck or back fracture is suspected.
Paramedics often use neck braces to prevent further damage if a neck or back fracture is suspected.

To speed the healing process of a fractured bone, a physician may recommend the use of supplements. Potassium, calcium, and magnesium, as well as zinc and boron, may be recommended to help heal bone fractures. Bromelain supplements may also be recommended, as these may reduce the painful inflammation often associated with bone fractures.

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    • Casts are often used to treat bone fractures.
      By: kameel
      Casts are often used to treat bone fractures.
    • A severe hip fracture may need hip replacement surgery to fix.
      By: NICOLAS LARENTO
      A severe hip fracture may need hip replacement surgery to fix.
    • Some bone fractures require a cast.
      By: sarapon
      Some bone fractures require a cast.
    • Surgeons may insert plates or pins to connect fractured bones together.
      By: Fotokon
      Surgeons may insert plates or pins to connect fractured bones together.
    • Paramedics often use neck braces to prevent further damage if a neck or back fracture is suspected.
      By: corepics
      Paramedics often use neck braces to prevent further damage if a neck or back fracture is suspected.