Have you ever broken a bone? Was it from a fall, an accident, or a sports injury? Common signs of a fracture (broken bone) are pain, swelling, and limited ability to use the affected area. If you or someone you know has experienced a fractured bone, please encourage them to seek definitive medical care right away. At Sports Health Northwest, we specialize in sports injuries and non-operative fracture care. We want to help support you as you recover from a fractured bone and and get back to the activities you enjoy. Dr David Westerdahl, MD, FAAFP at Sports Health Northwest, Inc, is a sports medicine physician specializing in treating sports injuries and fractures. Call the office located in the Graham Clinic in Portland, Oregon, or contact us online to book an appointment.
Fractures can be in good alignment (non-displaced) or out of alignment (displaced). They can also open where the bone pokes out of the skin or closed where there is no skin injury. Fractures can sometimes be difficult to see on an x-ray such as a stress fracture. Serious fractures can have a greater risk of complications if not treated quickly.
Recently, I was jogging barefoot on the beach and didn’t see a rock that was partially buried under the sand. With the full force of my jogging effort, I jammed my second toe into that rock and felt a sickening crunch followed by pain and a sensation of warmth. My running gait changed immediately as I hopped around a couple times and had a few choice words for that rock that crunched my toe. To make matters worse, I still had to jog 20 minutes back to my car or walk 40 minutes. I swallowed my pride and limped my way back to the car. By the time I got back to my car, I could see that my toe was quite swollen and starting to develop this new shade of purple compared to the second toe on my other foot. An Xray the next day confirmed I had broken a bone in my toe called the proximal phalanx. After a few weeks of rest and recovery and changing my workouts, I was able to resume running again.
Fractures are best identified on xrays. Other imaging tests such as CT scans, MRI’s, and even ultrasound can also be utilized to help identify fractures. Fractures are commonly caused by falls, accidents, or other direct blow. Most everyone will experience at least one fracture in their lifetime. Fractures are common in children and adults. Because children have growth plates and their bones are still developing and softer than adults, they tend to have unique fracture patterns and some can be hard to identify. Recovering from a fractured bone can vary from person to person and not all fractures heal the same for everyone. Some fractures have different needs for immobilization. Some arm fractures are best treated with a sling while others need a cast, and other types may even need surgery. Some leg fractures, heal well with a cast while others can do well with a boot or even just protecting the affected area using crutches.
Bones have a remarkable ability to heal by regeneration and reformation. Fractures heal with inflammation, repair, and remodeling. While inflammation and repair are relatively quick aspects of healing, remodeling can take months. Healing is a complex process that relies on a number of factors.
Your sports physician can help optimize the factors that positively influence fracture healing and work towards helping you achieve your goals for recovery.
We understand that fractures can be painful and scary and the recovery can be stressful. We want to help you recover as safely and quickly as possible. At Sports Health Northwest, in Portland, Oregon, we want to help you recover from your injury and resume activities you enjoy.