A broken bone or bone fracture occurs when a force exerted against the bone is stronger than the bone can bear. This disturbs the structure and strength of the bone, and leads to pain, loss of function and sometimes bleeding and injury around the site. There are many different types of bone fractures. Some are more severe than others, depending on the strength and direction of the force, the particular bone involved, and the person’s age and general health. Broken bones take around four to eight weeks to heal, depending on the age and health of the person and the type of break.
One of the more severe types of fractures is known as Open (compound) fractures. This is a fracture in which broken bone fragments lacerate or tear soft tissue and protrude through an open wound in the skin (the open wound leads to the fracture site). Infection and external bleeding are more likely with this fracture type and typically take much longer to heal, due to the amount of injury that the bone and surrounding tissue sustains.
In order for an injury to be classified as a compound fracture, the outside air, dirt, and bacteria must be able to get to the fracture site without a barrier of skin or soft-tissue. Therefore, a bone does not need to be through the skin in order for the injury to be called a compound fracture. Compound fractures are usually caused by traumatic high-energy injuries such as vehicle accidents, falls, or sports injuries. There are more often problems associated with healing when a fracture is open to the skin.
Other problems caused that can be secondary to compound fractures can include:
Delayed bone healing – Many times the bone fails to heal at the expected rate, delayed healing may result after the fractured ends fail to unite and heal.
Infection within the bone – The potential for infection increases with compound fractures or open fractures. Infection can be prevented by careful monitoring and proper sterile techniques when handling any open wound or incision.
Injuries to organs, tissues or surrounding structures
Stunted growth of the bone
If you or someone you know has a compound fracture, please note that moving the broken bones can increase pain and bleeding and can damage tissues around the injury. This can lead to complications in the repair and healing of the injury later on. The best thing to do is immobilize the injured area and control any external bleeding and immediately contact an emergency number.
Feinberg Consulting Inc. can help families dealing with injuries such as compound fractures. Accommodations can be made and plans of care can be put in place to ensure that you or your loved one recovers to your full medical potential.
Call us at 877.538.5425 to understand more about how a Case Manager can assist you!