A comminuted fracture occurs when the bone involved has been broken, splintered, or crushed into several pieces.
In order to be classified as comminuted, the bone must be broken into at least three separate pieces.
Comminuted fractures are also known as multi-fragmentary fractures.
This type of fracture can occur at any location in the bone.
Image of a Comminuted Fracture
Comminuted fractures tend to happen to elderly people and in people with weaker bones, such as, people who have cancer or who have osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease).
Comminuted fractures are also likely to happen to people who have been in car accidents or other severe accidents or falls.
Symptoms of Comminuted Fracture
Severe pain will be experienced. Pain may even be so severe that the person may pass out.
The person will not be able to bear weight on the bone without severe pain.
The area of the break may swell and become warm to the touch.
Treatment of Comminuted Fractures
The first step to treating a comminuted fracture is to see a physician and receive an x-ray of the area.
The doctor will then decide if surgery is necessary to pin the bones together so they have a chance of binding together.
Several follow up appointments will be necessary with an orthopedic physician to make certain that the bone is healing properly.
This type of fracture may be difficult to heal because of the severity of the break.
Greenstick Fracture Pathology
A greenstick fracture occurs when a bone bends or cracks instead of breaking entirely into separate pieces.
This type of fracture normally occurs in children because they have softer and more flexible bones.
Greenstick fractures are sometimes thought of as sprains because the child may still have full range of motion of the limb after the fracture has occurred.
Image of a Greenstick Fracture
Symptoms of Greenstick Fractures
The intense pain and swelling that is experiences in comminuted and other fractures is not typically experienced with greenstick fractures. Although apparent deformity and swelling is seen in some cases.
These fractures typically occur after a fall, and occur more frequently in arms than in legs. If your child presents with severe arm pain after a fall it may be necessary to see a physician.
Treatment of Greenstick Fractures
The physician will take an x-ray and then determine whether the child needs a cast or splint, depending on the severity of the break.
The bone may need to be repositioned if it is out of place. This is usually done under sedation.
Greenstick fractures typically take four to eight weeks to heal depending on the age of the child and severity of the break.
Spiral Fracture Pathology
A spiral fracture is a type of bone fracture that is caused by a twisting force.
Spiral fractures are also called torsion fractures.
They typically occur when one end of an extremity is fixed and the rest of the extremity remains in motion.
The fracture line spirals around the shaft of the bone, and is usually slower to heal than other fractures.
Image of a Spiral Fracture
Spiral fractures of the tibia typically occur in preschool or toddler aged children who fall on one extended leg.
Spiral fractures also occur in skiing accidents because the skiers feet are locked into the boots but their legs can be rotated violently in an accident.
Symptoms and Treatment of a Spiral Fracture
A spiral fracture is extremely painful so the person typically knows the leg or other body part is broken.
A physician will take an x-ray to verify the type of fracture.
The fracture may require surgery to pin the bone, or the bone will be set in a cast for several months depending on the severity and location of the break and the health of the individual.