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Every year, more than one million people in the United States suffer from a broken bone or fracture. While underlying bone conditions, like osteoporosis, cause some broken bones, most fractures are sustained during an accident, fall, or other types of trauma. The team of board-certified physicians at My Emergency Room 24/7 in San Marcos, Texas provides comprehensive care, including on-site X-rays, for simple fractures, as well as complex breaks. If you think you’ve broken a bone, come in for an immediate injury assessment.

Broken Bones Q & A

What causes broken bones?

The severity of a bone fracture usually depends on the intensity of the force that caused it. A force that’s only a tad higher than a bone’s flexibility range may cause a minor hairline fracture, while excessive force can shatter the bone.

Most bone fractures are caused by:

  • Trauma: The majority of broken bones are the result of physical trauma, which is often sustained during a car accident, in a slip-and-fall accident, or on the sports field.

  • Overuse: Repetitive motions that fatigue your muscles can put added pressure on your bones, which may ultimately lead to a stress fracture. Athletes and fitness enthusiasts are more prone to overuse fractures.

  • Osteoporosis: This age-related bone condition makes bones weaker and more prone to fractures, even during normal activities.

What are the two main types of bone fractures?

No matter what their cause, all bone fractures fall into one of two main categories:

  • Simple fractures: This category includes all fractures that don’t penetrate the skin, ranging from hairline cracks to full breaks. A simple fracture can be difficult to diagnose without an X-ray because it sometimes feels like a severe sprain or a pulled muscle.

  • Compound fractures: Compound fractures, also known as open fractures, occur when a broken bone penetrates the skin and exposes the bone and surrounding tissues.

How are broken bones treated?

Acute bone fracture care begins with a careful examination and X-ray imaging, which provides clear pictures of your bones and joints. The providers at My Emergency Room 24/7 have an on-site X-ray machine to ensure a quick and accurate diagnosis so you can get the treatment you need quickly.

Whether you have a simple hairline fracture or a painful compound break, acute fracture care follows one basic rule; your bone must be set back into position for it to heal correctly.

For hairline fractures and clean breaks, a splint or a cast usually accomplishes that. More complex breaks often require surgical repair using screws, rods, plates, or pins to hold the bone in place.

How long does it take broken bones to heal?

If you’re healthy and your bones are relatively strong, partial breaks and hairline fractures may heal in as quickly as a few weeks. If you have a break that requires surgery, however, you can expect your healing process to take several months.

If you’ve fractured a bone, the experienced providers at My Emergency Room 24/7 can help. They’re ready to provide immediate emergency care around the clock, 365 days a year.