Orthopedic trauma

Orthopedic trauma happens when a severe bone & muscle injury calls for immediate surgical help. Commonly seen injuries include dislocations and fractures. However, there may be other kinds of injuries like osteochondral injury, tendonitis, compressive injury, sprain/strain etc.

Fracture is said to occur when a bone breaks partially or fully. This can happen due to pathological conditions or due to a physical injury. Osteoporosis (decrease in the bone mass) can also lead to fracture.

Fractures can be classified into several types. Following are the major categories of fractures:

  • Comminuted fracture: Occurs when the bones completely break.
  • Open fracture: Happens when the fracture is visible.
  • Greenstick fracture: Occurs when there is some kind of bend/partial break occurring to the bone.
  • Closed fracture: Happens when the fracture cannot be seen.

Another form of bone injury is dislocation. Dislocation occurs when a bone or its portion gets displaced from its original position. As a result of this displacement, the associated tendon and muscles may get torn off. It is necessary to bring back the displaced portion of the bone into the original position. The process of re-alignment of fractures and dislocations is medically termed as reduction. Imaging tests like X-rays are performed in order to understand the extent of damage caused. After doing this, the entire area is to be kept steady for a period of time. This shall facilitate the growth of new bone cells (callus) in the site of fracture. Immobilization of the affected area is brought out by use of steri-strips, tractions etc. After recovery, the imaging tests are done once again to ensure that the original bone structure is attained.

In the cases of severe injury, a considerable amount of cells surrounding the injury may die fast. The situation is referred to as gangrene. Coagulation of the blood may also happen suddenly. It becomes essential to treat these injuries quickly. Otherwise, amputation may be the only option left. The treatment of the major sports injuries rely on R.I.C.E method. The method comprises of 4 steps: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. The major kinds of sports injuries and their treatment are discussed in the subsequent sections.

Quick treatment of traumatic injuries is always advisable. The reason is that the rate of healing is proportional to the age of the fracture. This simply means that the injury takes more time to heal if kept untreated for long.