Joe Fleming provides an athlete's guide to understanding fractures.
The deafening crack of a bone breaking is painful enough, much less the treatment and recovery period that follows. A fracture can side-line your athletic ambitions in an instant and keep you off the field for weeks to months at a time. Do not miss this quick guide to understanding fractures and the steps you can take to guard yourself against them.
Types of Fractures
A hard blow to an extremity or even actions like hyperextending your leg while playing a contact sport can result in many different types of leg fractures including:
Additional complete fractures include stable fractures, segmental fractures, compression fractures, and single fractures.
Risk Factors for Fractures
While playing contact sports like hockey and football can naturally increase your risk of experiencing a fracture, additional factors are also important to keep in mind. Low bone density naturally makes your bones more susceptible to breaking. Low bone density can occur because of certain medical conditions and age (women over 50 lose significant bone mass); however, inactivity, poor diet, and excessive drinking and smoking can contribute to it as well.
Repetitive overuse can stress bones too leading to hairline fractures known as stress fractures. Overuse may include repeating the same motion or action over and over for many months or even years like baseball pitchers who continually throw with the same arm or runners who pound the same road day in and day out.
Complications of Fractures
Incurring a fracture is in itself a traumatic event, much less experiencing complications from one; however, there are a variety of things that "can go wrong" when it comes to healing a broken bone.
In some cases of children fracturing bones at a younger age where a growth plate in the body is impacted, they may experience anatomical disparities later in life like one leg being slightly longer or shorter than the other.
Diagnosing and treating fractures initially involves a series of imaging tests that help doctors uncover the exact location of the fracture and deduce the type and severity of the break. Seeking prompt attention following an injury is key to a timely and successful recovery. Symptoms of a bone break may include:
Fractures are typically addressed in two ways - with surgery (i.e. in the case of severe leg fractures) or by casting (or splinting) the appendage for a certain amount of time to align the bones and allow them time to grow back together. The goal is ultimately to return fracture bones to their original position and stabilize them, so they can properly heal.
Recovery periods can range from a handful of weeks to months, depending on how badly the bone is broken and where it is broken. Following healing, a period of rehabilitation and physical therapy will be conducted to help you regain strength, the range of motion, and flexibility in the affected limb.
It goes without saying that protecting your bones is critical when playing sports and staying physically active. To guard against fractures, you should:
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About the Author
Joe Fleming is the President at ViveHealth.com. Passionate about healthy lifestyles and living a full life, he enjoys sharing and expressing these interests through his writing. With a goal to inspire others and fight ageism, Joe writes to help people of all backgrounds and ages overcome life's challenges. His work ranges from articles on wellness, holistic health and ageing to social narratives, motivational pieces and news stories. For Joe, helping others is vital.
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