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Broken bones – we hope they never happen, but sometimes they do. If you think you might have a broken bone, promptly seek medical treatment. Bones will begin to immediately heal themselves once injured or fractured.

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At MedExpress, we're open every day with a full medical team and digital X-rays on site, so your broken bone can be treated right away.

What Is a Broken Bone?

The term "broken bone" is synonymous with "fracture," as they both can happen any time direct, excessive force is applied to the bone. Depending on the level of force, the bone may break, shatter, or crack.

While broken collarbones, broken arms, broken wrists, and broken ankles are the most common, a broken bone can occur at any location where too much force is applied.

Different types of injuries exert force on the bone in different ways, which can result in different types of breaks. While there are numerous types of broken bones, below are some of the most common:

  • Stress fracture: Repetitive motion causes a small crack in the bone. 
  • Simple (closed) fracture: The skin and surrounding tissue remains intact despite a broken bone. 
  • Open or compound fracture: A piece of bone protrudes through the skin. 
  • Greenstick: The bone bends and breaks only on one side. This break is common in children. 

Different types of injuries exert force on the bone in different ways, which can result in different types of breaks.

Treatment of Broken Bones

Your MedExpress medical team will examine the break and order X-rays to determine the extent, type, and exact location of the break as well as the best treatment option and follow-up care. A fiberglass splint may be used to help immobilize less severe fractures and ensure that proper healing begins, though MedExpress does not provide casts or plaster for mending.

More severe fractures may be referred immediately to an orthopedic specialist for evaluation for a variety of reasons. Compound fractures, in particular, are at an increased risk of infection and will require emergent care.

To ease discomfort, you can take pain relievers. Depending on the severity of the break, you may use over the counter pain relievers (acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen) or may be prescribed a stronger medication.

Dislocations

Different from broken bones, dislocations occur when your joints are pushed out of their natural position. The results are often painful. Common dislocated joints include knees, shoulders, elbows, and ankles, which often occur during contact sports or after a fall. Those misplaced joints are often swollen, painful, and unable to be moved. Medical attention should be sought immediately, as displaced joints could lead to nerve or ligament damage.

Joints can be reset through manipulation and movement, though some dislocations require rehabilitation or slings. Speedy resolution to your dislocated joint can help with the joint's future use.

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