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Ortho Trauma

When accidents cause broken bones or joint injuries, patients and their families often must make decisions about care in the midst of the emergency. Know with confidence that you can rely on the extensive knowledge, skill, and experience of the physicians at Decatur Orthopaedic Clinic to provide the best care available.

Our physicians work hard to help educate people within the community about how important strong, healthy bones are at every age. Whether you are a parent with a rambunctious toddler, an active teen playing sports, an aging weekend athlete, or an older adult wanting to stay active, there are some important truths to understand about bones, how to keep them healthy and what to do when breaks and other traumas occur.

Bone Basics
Bones are rigid, but they do bend or “give” somewhat when an outside force is applied. When this force stops, bone returns to its original shape. For example, if you fall forward and land on your outstretched hand, there’s an impact on the bones and connective tissue of your wrist as you hit the ground. The bones of the hand, wrist and arm can usually absorb this shock by giving slightly and then returning to their original shape and position. If the force is too great, however, bones will break, just as a plastic ruler breaks after being bent too far.

Healthy Bones
Even though healthy bones are very strong, any bone will break if the force applied against it is great enough. Bones that are weakened by disease or misuse may break more easily than healthy bones. To develop and maintain healthy bones, you need adequate amounts of calcium and proper exercise. Because of the way bones are made, calcium is very important in the growth, development, and maintenance of strong bones.

Broken Bones
It is very important to control the movement of a broken bone. Moving a broken or dislocated bone can cause additional damage to the bone, nearby blood vessels, and nerves or other tissues surrounding the bone. That’s why people giving first aid or emergency treatment may splint or brace your injury before medical treatment is given. If you do break a bone, seek medical treatment and remember – follow your orthopaedist’s advice.

X-rays & Fractures
The severity of a fracture usually depends on the force that caused the fracture. If the bone’s breaking point has been exceeded only slightly, then the bone may crack rather than breaking all the way through. If the force is extreme, such as in an automobile collision or a gunshot, the bone may shatter.

X-rays can help our physicians determine whether there is a fracture, and if so, what type of fracture it is. If there is a fracture, the doctor will “reduce” it by restoring the parts of the broken bone to their original positions. “Reduction” is the technical term for this process. If you do fracture a bone, seek medical treatment and remember — follow your orthopaedist’s advice.