Post-fracture injury refers to any additional injury or complication that can occur following a bone fracture. These injuries can occur during the initial fracture or during the healing process, and can range from minor to severe.
Common post-fracture injuries include:
Soft tissue injuries: Soft tissue injuries can occur as a result of the trauma that caused the fracture or as a result of the body's healing process. These injuries can include sprains, strains, or tears in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons surrounding the fracture site.
Nerve damage: Nerve damage can occur as a result of the initial fracture or due to pressure on the nerves during the healing process. This can lead to numbness, tingling, or weakness in the affected limb.
Joint injuries: Fractures can sometimes involve the joint itself, which can lead to damage to the cartilage or other structures within the joint.
Compartment syndrome: Compartment syndrome is a rare but serious complication that can occur when pressure within a muscle compartment builds to dangerous levels. This can lead to tissue damage and can require immediate medical attention.
post-fracture stiffness can have several causes, including:
Immobilization: When a bone is broken, it is often immobilized to allow it to heal properly. However, this immobilization can cause the surrounding soft tissues to become tight and stiff.
Inflammation: Inflammation can occur around the site of a fracture as the body's natural response to injury. This inflammation can cause swelling and stiffness in the affected joint or limb.
Scar tissue: During the healing process, scar tissue can form around the site of the fracture. This scar tissue can restrict the movement of the affected joint or limb, leading to stiffness.
The treatment for post-fracture stiffness depends on the severity of the stiffness and the underlying cause. Here are some common treatments that may be used:
Physical therapy: Physical therapy can be an effective treatment for post-fracture stiffness. A physical therapist can develop a customized exercise program to help improve range of motion and strength, and to stretch the affected muscles and joints.
Heat therapy: Applying heat to the affected area can help to increase blood flow and promote relaxation of the muscles, which can improve range of motion.
Cold therapy: Cold therapy can help to reduce inflammation and swelling in the affected area, which can help to improve range of motion.
Medications: Over-the-counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), may be used to help manage pain and inflammation.