When to Seek Medical Help for Bone Fractures

Fractures: Causes, Types of Bone Fractures, and ER Treatment

When to Seek Medical Help for Bone Fractures?

A fracture is a partial or complete break in the bone. When a fracture occurs, it is classified as either open or closed:

  • Open fracture - the bone exits and is visible through the skin, or where a deep wound exposes the bone through the skin.
  • Closed fracture - the bone is broken, but the skin is intact.

Fractures have a variety of names. Below is a listing of the common types that may occur in children:

  • Greenstick - incomplete fracture. A portion of the bone is broken, causing the other side to bend.
  • Transverse - the break is in a straight line across the bone.
  • Spiral - the break spirals around the bone; common in a twisting injury
  • Oblique - diagonal break across the bone.
  • Compression - the bone is crushed, causing the broken bone to be wider or flatter in appearance.
  • Comminuted - the break is in three or more pieces.

What causes a fracture?

Fractures occur when more force is applied to the bone than the bone can absorb. Bones are weakest when they are twisted. Breaks in bones can occur from falls, trauma, or as a result of a direct blow or kick to the body. A child's bone differs from the adult bone in a variety of ways:

  • A child's bone heals much faster than an adult's bone. The younger the child, the faster the healing occurs.
  • Bones are softer in children and tend to buckle or bend rather than completely break.
  • Children have open growth plates, also called epiphysis, located at the end of the long bones. This is an area where the bone grows. Injury to the growth plate can lead to limb length discrepancies or angular deformities.

What are the symptoms of a fracture?

The following are the most common symptoms of a fracture. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the injured area
  • Swelling in the injured area
  • Obvious deformity in the injured area
  • Difficulty using or moving the injured area in a normal manner
  • Warmth, bruising, or redness in the injured area

The symptoms of a broken bone may resemble other conditions. Always consult your child's physician or ER doctor for a diagnosis.

Bone Fracture Treatment – When to Visit the Emergency Room

Fractures are usually very painful, and the pain may increase when you move or apply pressure to the break. You may also notice that the area has become swollen or bruised.

If you suspect that you have a bone fracture, you need to come into one of our emergency rooms. Come in immediately if you notice:

  • Your fingers or toes are turning blue or numb.
  • The person with the fracture is unresponsive or not breathing.
  • The fracture occurred during a serious injury.
  • The neck, head, or spine may be fractured.
  • The bone has broken through the skin.
  • There is heavy bleeding at the site of the fracture.
  • The fracture is in the upper leg, pelvis, or hip.

If you have a bone fracture, please visit one of our 24-hour emergency rooms immediately. Fractures are considered an emergency. Our trained emergency room medical professionals are always available, even in the middle of the night, during the weekend, and on holidays. ER of Texas Emergency Center has multiple emergency rooms.

Visit one of our ER locations close to you. Our board-certified physicians will get you taken care of within the comforts of our fully-stocked facility. We accept walk-ins – No appointment needed.