Bone Fractures in Singapore
Bone fractures are a type of injury that can happen to anyone. They are usually caused by a strong impact or a direct blow to the bone, which results in the bone breaking.
In Singapore, bone fractures are one of the most common injuries. In 2017, the estimated incidence of osteoporotic fracture was over 15,000 cases, and it is estimated to increase by 58% by the year 2035.
This article details the different types of bone fractures, their symptoms, and how they are diagnosed, treated, and prevented.
What is Bone Fracture?
Bone fracture is a traumatic injury to the bone caused by a fall, collision, or any other strong force. The severity of the fracture depends on the type and location of the break.
A bone fracture can be classified as either open or closed. If a bone breaks through the skin, it is an open fracture. A closed fracture does not break through the skin, and there is no visible evidence of trauma to the skin.
There are many types of bone fractures; such as compression fracture, greenstick fracture, spiral fracture, and comminuted fracture. Common bone fractures include the wrist, ankle, and hip. Hip fractures generally occur in older people.
The treatment for a broken bone depends on how severe it is and in which part of the body did it occur. It could involve surgery or casting, depending on how bad it is and if there are any complications involved with your injuries, such as nerve damage or muscle damage in your arm or leg.
What Causes Bone Fracture?
Our bones are extremely resilient as they can withstand powerful impacts, allowing us to land on our feet after jumping and during relevant activities that involve great force. But, under enough pressure, they may crack or break.
For instance, physical trauma, overuse, and health conditions such as osteoporosis can lead to bone fractures. Other factors like low bone density can also increase your risk of sustaining bone fractures. Ageing can also weaken our bone strength and increase the risk of developing a bone condition.
What are the Symptoms of Bone Fracture?
That said, here are the symptoms that you should be aware of:
- Pain and tenderness in the affected area
- Swelling in the affected area
- Bruising around the affected area
- Inability to move or use the affected area
- Numbness or tingling sensation
- Discoloured skin around the affected area
- Protrusion of the affected area at an unusual angle
In more severe cases, the symptoms may include:
- Faintness or light-headedness
What are the Common Types of Bone Fracture?
There are many common types of bone fractures. They can be classified by their location on the body, the type of bone that is fractured, and whether or not they are open or closed.
Some common types of bone fracture include:
- Hand & Wrist (Distal Radius) Fracture
- Ankle Fracture
- Hip Fracture
- Knee Fracture
- Shoulder Fracture
- Arm Fracture
- Spine (Compression) Fracture)
- Hand & Wrist (Distal Radius) Fracture
This type of fracture refers to a broken wrist, whereby the distal radius fracture occurs when the radius – one of the two long bones in the forearm – breaks close to the wrist. It is the most commonly broken bone in the arm.
The distal radius fracture typically occurs about 1 inch from the end of the bone and can occur in several ways, including high-energy accidents or osteoporosis. It can also occur from a simple fall onto an outstretched arm.
A fractured ankle, also known as a broken ankle, refers to when one or more bones that make up the ankle joint are broken. The fracture can range from a simple break in one bone to several fractures, causing your ankle to become deformed and unstable.
Broken ankles typically affect people of all ages and tend to damage the ligaments, which hold the ankle bones and joint in position. Bone fracture specialists will classify ankle fractures depending on the area of the bone that is broken.
Hip fractures are cracks or breaks at the top of the thigh bone (femur) close to the hip joint. They typically occur in elderly patients whose bones are weakened by osteoporosis, as well as younger patients who are involved in high-energy events such as a fall or motor accidents.
Hip fractures can be very painful and localised to the groin and upper part of the thigh. In most cases, the pain associated with hip fractures will cause the patient to be unable to stand, bear weight, or move the upper part of the leg or knee.
A knee fracture usually refers to a break in the patella or kneecap – the small bone that sits at the front of our knees. Because the patella acts as a shield for our knee joint, it is susceptible to fracture if one incurs a direct trauma to the knee.
It is a severe injury that can make walking or straightening the knee an extremely challenging task. A knee fracture can also occur in many ways, which can be a simple, clean, two-piece break, or the bone can break into many pieces.
A shoulder fracture is common as injuries can range from a separated shoulder due to a fall to a high-speed motor accident that fractures the shoulder blade (scapula) or collarbone (clavicle). One thing for sure is that everyone injures their shoulder at some point in life.
As the chest and surrounding muscles protect the scapula, it is not easily fractured unless caused by high-energy trauma. This trauma is often associated with injuries to the chest.
An arm fracture refers to a broken arm which involves one or more of the three bones in the arm – the ulna, radius, and humerus. It can be caused by falling onto an outstretched hand or elbow.
Direct blows and injuries from certain sports involving physical contact can also cause arm fractures. Bone abnormalities such as osteoporosis and bone tumours can increase your risk of a broken arm.
Spine (Compression) Fracture
A spine compression fracture is a type of fracture caused by osteoporosis, leading to the vertebral bone decreasing at least 15 to 20% in height. It can occur anywhere in the spine but it tends to occur in the upper back (thoracic spine).
The symptoms of this fracture are usually followed by acute back pain, which can lead to chronic pain, deformity, loss of height, crowding of internal organs, and loss of muscle and aerobic conditioning due to lack of activity and exercise.
How are Bone Fractures Diagnosed and Treated?
Depending on your circumstances, a bone fracture specialist will inquire about the events that led to your bone fracture. They will then carry out a physical examination to obtain a diagnosis, including an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan to assess the fracture fully.
Once the bone fracture specialist obtains your diagnosis, they will focus on providing optimal healing conditions for your bone fracture treatment. This is because the bone takes time to heal naturally.
The bone fracture specialist will line up the ends of the broken bones or manipulate the affected area externally. This will include:
- Using casts or braces
- Inserting metal plates and screws
- Placing rods in bone cavities
- External fixings
Physical therapy may be necessary after the bone healing process to restore muscle strength and mobility to the affected area.
How to Prevent Bone Fractures?
There are many ways to prevent bone fractures, such as a change of diet that includes adequate supplies of calcium for healthy bones and vitamin D for better calcium absorption.
Another way to prevent bone fractures is by wearing safety gear or protective equipment when engaging in risky activities such as skateboarding or cycling. You might be exposed to falls from height or heavy objects falling from above.
Engaging in weight-bearing exercises can also help improve muscle mass and bone density while reducing the risk of bone fractures.
How to Prevent Bone Fractures?
At Spire Orthopaedic Centre, everyone should be cared for and healed holistically in comfort without having to travel to different locations to seek medical and surgical help and rehabilitation support.
With a combined facility for collaboration between physicians, physiotherapists, and surgeons, you will experience a seamless service from diagnosis to treatment and rehabilitation that’s tailored just for you at our clinic.