First thing to know is: don’t be scared! We are all breakable, and everything that is difficult now - the pain, the swelling, needing extra help - is temporary. Breaking a bone is difficult, but the really good part about it is that your body knows how to solve this problem. Nature has been fixing bones without the benefit of orthopedists for hundreds of thousands of years.
A fracture and a break are the same thing, and no one type of fracture is really better or worse than any other, as long as the skin and soft tissues around the fracture are healthy. Bone is unique, because it is one of the rare tissues in the body that can get disrupted and repair itself to the same tissue it was at the beginning. Nearly all other tissues heal with scar tissue which almost always leads to some functional loss. When bone heals, you just get new bone.
In treating every fracture, the primary goal is to restore as much function as possible once healing and rehabilitation is complete. For many fractures, that can be done with simple rest and often splinting or casting. Some fractures are better treated with surgery to realign the bone in a more normal position because this is necessary to get the best function. Our job as orthopedists is to know what the best treatment is for a specific fracture in a specific individual. Final word: most fractures we operate on are fixed with some type of metal, either a plate and screws or a rod. All of those implants are designed to be left in place forever, or to come out if they cause symptoms. Fortunately, most don’t cause symptoms and can be left in place.
Through HSS Orthopedics at Stamford Health, I am privileged to be able to make world-class care more convenient for Fairfield County residents. My office is at the HSS Stamford Outpatient Center at Chelsea Piers, and my colleagues and I perform surgeries at Stamford Hospital.