Urgent Care for Fractures and Broken Bones
Fractures and broken bones always require prompt medical attention, which you can obtain from our Rockville MD urgent care center. The treatment needed for a fracture depends on the location and the seriousness of it. Some bone injuries might only need a cast to heal on their own, while others might require surgery and even the insertion of metal pins or screws. If you suspect you have a fracture, come to our urgent care Rockville, MD office immediately so a provider can evaluate and treat your injury.
Types of Fractures
If you’ve suffered a fracture, your provider will first determine what kind before he can administer treatment.
There are four common type of bone fractures:
- Stable fracture: This is the most simple type of fracture, in which the bone is broken but doesn’t move out of place. If you look at it on an x-ray, a stable fracture looks like a line, with sometimes no space between the two pieces of bone
- Hairline fracture: Also known as “partial fractures,” these types of fractures don’t completely break or separate the bone.
- Open, compound fracture: Compound fractures are those in which the skin is broken along with the bone. Sometimes a piece of the bone comes through the skin, but not always.
- Comminuted fracture: This type of fractures often require surgery, as the bone breaks into three or more pieces and might need to be put together through the use of metal screws.
Signs and Symptoms of Fractures
The most obvious sign of a fracture is pain. Once a bone breaks, you cannot longer put pressure on the area, or if you can, it’s only partial pressure and it causes intense pain.
Aside from pain, fractures also cause swelling, bruising and sometimes bleeding (in the case of compound fractures). Fractures near the joint might restrict movement.
Depending on the intensity of the pain or the location, you might also feel dizzy, look pale or faint. This is especially true of fractures of the femur or pelvis.
Although a provider might be able to tell that a bone is broken just by observing or touching the area, x-rays are usually required to confirm the diagnosis. In addition, x-rays also show the type and extension of the fracture and help the provider decide what type of treatment is best.
Treatment for Fractures
Casts and braces are the most common form of treatment for fractures. Most fractures create swelling, so it is necessary to treat them with splints to allow the swelling to improve before placing the fractured limb in a cast. Splints, cast, and braces essentially immobilize the bone in the correct position so it can heal on its own over time. If you have been given a cast or a brace, you might need to wear it for several months. Sometimes, casts need to be replaced as the bone heals or if the cast becomes damaged and no longer provides enough stabilization.
More serious breaks might require the use of pins or screws. External fixation is a form of surgery in which the pins are placed into the bone but connected to a metal brace located outside of the body. External fixators are a good solution when muscles, tendons or skin have also been damaged during the break, so providers cannot perform surgery (because it would be impossible to close up the wound after).
For comminuted fractures, providers usually recommend surgery. You may need to have a pre-operative examination to make sure you’re healthy enough to undergo surgery. During the operation, the surgeon will piece the broken bone together using metal plates or pins. This is all done inside the body, through an incision, with the skin then sutured and allowed to heal. While the pins used in external fixations are eventually removed, metal pieces used in comminuted fractures are left in place permanently.
Extensive fractures and broken bones might require physical therapy after the surgery to help you regain strength and movement.