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What is it?
Fracture is when there is a break in the continuity of the bone. Fracture, break, crack etc all mean the same thing.
Bone is an amazing living structure. It is perhaps the only structure that heals itself without forming ‘scar’ tissue. For example, if have a cut on your skin, you will heal with scar tissue; and so will you if you damage brain or kidney and will not form back normal tissue. So be reassured; if you break a bone and if it can heal, then what you get is your normal bone structure and not a bridge of scar tissue. The bone generally returns back to normal strength as well.
How does this happen?
Bone has an unique property called “visco-elasticity”.
If a force is applied to the bone ‘slowly’, it deforms and bends. Once the force is removed, it returns back to normal state. If the force is not removed, the bone structure adapts to it.
If a force is applied rapidly, then bone behaves differently. It becomes very stiff and resists deformation. When the force exceeds the capacity of the bone, then it breaks resulting in fracture.
If a repetitive and slowly deforming force is applied to the bone, then it responds by forming additional ‘layers’ which can be seen on x-ray. We sometimes refer to this as ‘sclerosis’ or osteophyte formation or as thickening of the cortex of the bone.
There are 206 bones in adult body. I have acquired skill in managing complex fractures of upper limb including clavicle, scapula, humeral head, humeral shaft, elbow, forearm, wrist bones and hand bones. When on-call for trauma cover, I also routinely deal with lower limb fractures affecting hips, femur, knee, tibia and foot and ankle.