Trauma: Fracture Care
It is important to treat fractures promptly for optimal bone healing and recovery. The sooner a fracture is treated, the sooner the patient is able to get back to everyday life and activities. Additionally, seeking treatment in a timely matter avoids the onset of muscle atrophy. Emergency fracture situations are when the dislodgment or inflammation is critical enough to impair blood circulation and the fractured bone pierces through the skin. Both circumstances demand pressing attention and instant surgical operation. Modern technology has made surgical procedures safer to where severe fractures are usually mended with some form of hardware, such as plates, screws, pins, and rods. It is normal for longer and tubular bones like the femur, tibia, and humerus (or thigh bone, shinbone, and upper arm), to be treated with long titanium rods down the center of the bone where it’s hollow. Smaller bones or fractures close to a joint, such as an ankle, wrist, or elbow, are treated with plates and screws.
Ligament tears are when the connective tissue linking bone-to-bone or bone-to-cartilage, ligaments, are affected with a rip or split, a tear. Most often, a ligament tear occurs when excessive force is exerted upon a joint, stretching or straining the joint beyond its capacity. Commonly, ligament tears are suffered in the ankle, knee, wrist, thumb, neck, and back ligaments. When ligaments are damaged, movement among bones isn’t possible, such as moving your knee back and forth or making a fist with your hands. Ligament tears are graded on a scale of one through three, one being a mild tear, two being a moderate (or partial) tear, and three being a complete tear, also referred to as a rupture. A rupture often requires surgery to make a full recovery as a torn ligament cannot fully heal itself due to the lack of blood supply. While most ruptures require surgery, some tears are an outpatient procedure, which makes it possible for the patient to return home following the surgery.
Ligaments are the tissue that connects bones to joints. A sprain is when a ligament is overstretched and even torn. Usually, sprains are suffered in the ankle, knee, wrist, and thumb. When ligaments are sprained, everyday motions and activities can be difficult, painful, or even impossible, such as standing, walking, or gripping a pencil. At first, treatment of sprains is similar to that of strains, which is when a muscle or tendon is overstretched or torn. Treating a sprain requires relaxing the injured area by applying ice to it to reduce inflammation, wearing a bandage, warp, or using a device to compresses the affected ligament, and pain relievers, normally nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Elevating the affected ligament above the heart will help promote blood flow and prevent any increased swelling. When it is possible to bear weight or move the affected ligament, it is important to perform exercises that will strengthen the ligament and the muscles around it while also stretching to increase flexibility and recover initial range of motion. A patient is able to return to regular activity when there is no pain in the injured ligament. It may be wise to wear a splint, brace, or wrap the afflicted area in tape to protect it from further injury, especially when first reintroducing physical activity.