Fractures are medical conditions that result when the continuity of bones is broken. Many fractures occur due to high force stress or impact. But fractures can also occur when medical conditions weaken the bones. These conditions include osteoporosis and some types of cancer. Fractures may occur after powerful force has been applied to bones. The force is so great that your bones may bend to the extent that they snap or break.
Among the most common fracture types are displaced and non-displaced fractures. Your physician will have an x-ray performed, which will confirm the type of break you’ve experienced. Read on to learn about displaced and non-displaced fractures and the ways in which they are treated.
What is a Non-Displaced Fracture?
When your bones are met with great force, one of many different kinds of fractures may occur. Bones may display fractures that are closed, open, displaced or non-displaced. When a bone breaks into two parts or more, this is a displaced fracture. The affected bone will not be aligned any longer, if this occurs. A non-displaced fracture is one where your bone only cracks in a single place, and doesn’t move far enough to change the natural alignment.
Non-displaced fractures occur when things hit the bone with much force. The blow in this case is usually swift, and it disperses along a larger area. You may not even have a complete break, but rather just have a crack in the bone. With displaced fractures, on the other hand, your bones shift from their original places and may protrude from your body. A non-displaced fracture is less intense, and is often not seen by the eye.
Diagnosing Non-displaced Fractures
Since your bone generally won’t protrude if you have suffered a non-displaced fracture, it’s not as easy to tell whether the bone is cracked or broken. X-rays will confirm whether the bone is fractured or not. If an x-ray does not provide an adequate view, your physician may send you for a CT scan. Physicians will also check the area itself, for pain, swelling, stiffness and tenderness.
Treating Non-displaced Fractures
Since the bone is still aligned even after a blow that caused it, a non-displaced fracture is easier to treat than a more serious displaced fracture. You may be prescribed medications that will reduce the swelling. In addition, you may need a splint or cast to prevent any further damage to the bone. This will need to be worn until the bone is completely healed.
Where the fracture is located will also be important in determining the course of treatment. For example, if yours is a skull fracture, no protective covering is needed. For a non-displaced arm fracture, it may be necessary to stabilize the break.
Some non-displaced fractures become displaced due to further trauma to the bone. This fracture has more risk for increased damage, since the bone will be misaligned when it is moved. This can even happen weeks after your original bone break.
Your physician will carefully monitor the healing of a non-displaced fracture, to be sure that it doesn’t break further, or cause you complications. If a fracture occurs near a joint, you could develop arthritis.
What’s your Outlook for Recovery?
Fractured bones can take a few weeks or longer to properly heal. The severity and location of the fracture also act as determining factors in how long complete recovery will take. The rate of recovery is also dependent on other medical conditions or injuries. Follow the advice of your physician, so that your fracture will heal quickly and properly. Once the bone’s healing process is complete, you will no longer feel pain.
It’s vital that you restrict any movement of your fractured area while it heals. If you try to continue using the joint or area, a non-displaced fracture can become displaced. This makes the situation more complicated.
While your fracture needs to be immobilized in order for it to heal properly, this may result in a loss of strength in the muscles of that area. If this occurs for you, then you may need to go through some physical therapy in order that you can regain your normal level of muscle strength again.
The video below is just one example of the manual technique for physical therapy on a typical non-displaced fracture.
Other Fracture Types
Besides displaced and non-displaced fractures, you might also sustain body injuries that could lead to other kinds of fractures. Some of them include:
These are fractures that are brought on by medical conditions.
In these fractures, you will also have an open wound in your skin. This causes them to have a higher than average risk for the development of an infection in the bone.
Closed fractures occur when you have a bone break without leaving an wound open in your skin. Your bone has broken, but if it initially broke the skin, it later receded back inside the skin, where you can no longer feel the break through your skin.
Transverse fractures occur when the broken bones occur at a right angle to the axis of the bone.
These are actually more accurately described as incomplete fractures. In these cases, your bone bends but it doesn’t break completely. These occur more commonly in children than adults.
These fractures occur when your bone breaks into more than two pieces.
These occur when your break has a curved or sloped pattern.
Stress fractures are caused when there is no actual break. You just have a hairline bone crack.
Buckled fractures occur when ends of different bones are driven into the other. They are also referred to as impacted fractures. They are often seen in young children’s arm fractures.
Displaced and Non-Displaced Fractures and Healing
The damage done to your bones and the location of the displaced or non-displaced fracture, along with damage to nearby tissue, will determine how severe your fracture is. If you do not treat a fracture, it may lead to one or more of several different complications.
Most common among these complications is infection in the surrounding tissue as well as the bone itself, in addition to damage to blood vessels or nerves. The time it takes you to recover greatly depends on how severe the fracture is, and your overall health and age. Minor fractures can heal in just several weeks, but serious fractures with infections could take several months or longer to completely heal.