Auto Accidents and Fractures of The Long Bones

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Fractures (a fractured bone and a broken bone are the same thing) are common injuries that can occur during auto accidents due to the high impact forces involved. The severity and type of fracture depend on various factors, including the speed of the collision, direction of impact, the position of the occupants, the type of vehicle involved, the age of the injury victim and the location of the fracture. Some common types of fractures that can result from auto accidents are the following:

  1. Simple Fracture
    Also known as a closed fracture, this is a type of fracture where the bone breaks but does not penetrate the skin.
  2. Compound Fracture
    Also known as an open fracture, this occurs when the broken bone protrudes through the skin. These types of fractures carry an increased risk of infection due to the open wound.
  3. Comminuted Fracture
    In this type of fracture, the bone shatters into multiple pieces. This can make treatment more complex as there are several fragments to align and stabilize.
  4. Greenstick Fracture
    This type of fracture is more common in children, as their bones are more flexible. The bone bends and cracks, but does not break completely, similar to how a green twig bends but doesn’t snap.
  5. Compression Fracture
    This type of fracture often occurs in the spine. It happens when the bones are crushed or compressed, leading to a decrease in height or structural integrity of the vertebrae.
  6. Transverse Fracture
    The break occurs in a straight line across the bone. It is often the result of a direct impact on the bone at a right angle.
  7. Oblique Fracture
    In an oblique fracture, the break has a diagonal pattern, occurring at an angle to the long axis of the bone.
  8. Avulsion Fracture
    This type of fracture occurs when a piece of bone is pulled away from the main bone due to the force of a tendon or ligament pulling on it.
  9. Impacted Fracture
    In this type of fracture, one bone fragment is driven into another. It typically occurs in long bones like the femur or humerus.
  10. Hairline Fracture
    Also known as a stress fracture, this is a tiny, thin crack in the bone. It may not always be immediately visible on X-rays and can be challenging to detect.
  11. Buckle Fracture
    This type of fracture is also common in children and involves the bone bending or buckling without breaking completely.

How well will a fracture heal? 

Fractured bones generally have a good potential to heal, especially with appropriate medical treatment and care. The healing process of a fractured bone is called “bone remodeling” and involves several stages:

  1. Inflammatory stage
    Immediately after the fracture occurs, there is bleeding around the site, forming a blood clot. The body’s inflammatory response brings specialized cells to the area, which helps to clean up damaged tissues and prepare for the healing process.
  2. Reparative stage
    In this stage, specialized cells called osteoblasts start to form new bone tissue around the fracture site. The bone begins to bridge the gap between the broken fragments, creating a soft callus made of collagen and cartilage.
  3. Consolidation stage
    As the healing process continues, the soft callus is gradually converted into hard bone tissue by the osteoblasts. This stage typically lasts several weeks to months, depending on the severity of the fracture and the individual’s age and overall health.
  4. Remodeling stage
    The final stage of healing is bone remodeling, which can last for several months to years. During this phase, the bone tissue continues to adapt and strengthen based on the stress and load applied to it. Over time, the bone’s shape and structure become more refined and resemble its original state.

The healing process can vary depending on several factors:

  • Age
    Younger individuals tend to heal more quickly than older individuals because their bones are more resilient and have a better blood supply.
  • Location of the Fracture
    Some bones have a better blood supply than others, which can affect the healing process. For example, fractures in areas with good blood flow, like the forearm, often heal faster than fractures in areas with limited blood flow, like the ankle.  (Fractures into a joint often come with many complications, and they may in fact never heal up properly.)
  • Type of Fracture
    Simple fractures with well-aligned bone fragments tend to heal more predictably than complex fractures with multiple fragments.
  • Treatment
    Proper medical treatment, such as immobilization with casts or splints, surgery, or other interventions, can significantly improve the healing process.
  • Patient’s Overall Health
    Factors like nutrition, smoking habits, and underlying medical conditions can also influence the healing process.

It’s important to note that even with proper care, some fractures may take several months to fully heal, and surgery, therapy or rehabilitation may be necessary to regain strength and function in the affected area. It’s crucial to follow the doctor’s advice and attend follow-up appointments to ensure the best possible outcome for bone healing. Meeting with our Charlotte, NC personal injury lawyer to discuss your best next steps in your potential case is also vital.

It is important to seek medical attention promptly after an auto accident to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment of any injuries.  Medical attention should be with a qualified medical provider that knows how to care for you and who knows about insurance claims.  Not all doctors want to get involved with insurance claims; and for those who do not, they can seriously damage your bodily injury claim.  We will help you find the right doctor for the type of injury you have sustained.  Picking a doctor at random is a sure recipe for insurance claim issues.  

Fractures From Accidents Can Lead To Lifelong Problems

Early detection and treatment intervention of an injury is critical to assure the best healing outcome.  The medical/scientific literature is full of research on why this is so, but you must evaluate, treat and get proper legal representation.  As a doctor who represents injured people, I know injuries.  I treated thousands of accident injuries, and now I represent them in the legal arena.  I fight for you and never for insurance companies.  Call us if you need our help.  Our staff at Ted A. Greve & Associates, PA is highly trained to help you every step of the way.  The call to and consultation with my office are free.  Call 1-800-333-4333 24 hours a day so that we can help start you on the way to health, and insurance claim, recovery.