In the simplest terms, a sports fracture
is a broken bone. When your bones break, they'll typically break in one or more places. Some breaks are small, while others are hairline cracks or complete breaks. When a bone is broken, it is moved out of alignment in most cases. A compound break is when the bone actually pierces through the skin and sticks out.
Diagnosing a Fracture
A doctor can typically notice a fracture when taking x-rays. However, not all x-rays show fractures, which's why more testing will need to be done. A computed tomography scan (CT scan) may be able to show a fracture, but that's not always the case. Physicians will also use bone scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to determine if you've suffered a sports fracture; again, this injury is hard to recognize with testing.
Other Injuries Caused by Fractures
Even after your doctor finds the fracture and gives a diagnosis, you'll need more testing to determine if other tissues surrounding the fractured bone have been damaged. A CT scan is the best way for a doctor to try and determine if the fracture has led to important injuries, such as bleeding around the brain – caused by fractures to the skull. Failing to determine these important injuries that caused by a sports fracture could lead to long-term damages amongst professional, student, and amateur athletes.
Treatment Options for Fractures
When you suffer from a sports fracture, you need to seek immediate treatment. Due to the seriousness of this injury, you'll likely receive emergency treatment at a hospital or clinic. Minor fractures to the toes do not warrant emergency care. However, if you believe that you have suffered a fracture to the hip
, or neck
, you shouldn't be moved. Instead, someone should call 911 immediately.
If fractures aren't treated, they could heal on their own, and cause the bones to be deformed. Your mobility may be limited if your fracture is not treated. You could experience tissue damage, serious pain, and lose the feeling in your bones without treatment. You're also at risk of an infection.
Some fractures are more difficult to treat, in comparison to others. For example, open fractures are not treated the same as non-displaced fractures. The latter won't need to be reset. A stress fractures from tennis or softball will require different treatment than hand
fractures caused by a boxing incident. Less severe fractures can be treated without surgery; this is known as closed reduction. However, more severe injuries will require surgery – referred to as open reduction.
If you're not treated properly for sports fractures, you could be at risk of a blood clot. The clot could travel to your brain and cause life-threatening issues, including a stroke or heart attack.
Research and Studies
Even though sports fractures are common injuries, they're difficult to understand, which makes them hard to treat. Without the proper treatment, the effects could be severe, including death. This is why they're dilemmas amongst sports medicine. However, studies are being done, and research is being conducted everyday to learn more about these injuries, and how to treat them, completely.