8 Common Signs and Symptoms of Broken Bones
When too much pressure is exerted on a bone, it will break or split apart. A broken bone of any size is known as a fracture. If it punctures the skin, this is known as a compound fracture. In most cases, broken bones occur due to stress, high force impact, or an underlying medical condition. Fractures caused by medical conditions, such as some cancers or osteoporosis, are known as pathological fractures.
The symptoms of a broken bone vary depending on which bone has been injured. Some of the mild symptoms may cause pain and discomfort, while the more severe symptoms could limit mobility and movement. A chiropractor may recommend different treatments based on the severity of the injury, along with the patient’s general health and age.
Do you suspect there is a fractured bone in your hand or foot? Identifying the symptoms might give you a better idea of how to seek the appropriate treatment. Below are some of the common signs and symptoms of broken bones:
Sign #1: Pain in the affected area
Broken bones hurt because of the lining, known as the periosteum, is rich in nerve endings that result in pain when inflamed. As a result of the fracture, the muscles around the affected area go into spasm. This is the body’s way of preventing movement where the fracture happened, but it can also increase the intensity of the pain.
With a rich blood supply, bones may bleed when broken or injured, which causes swelling. As the blood seeps into the tissue surrounding the affected area, a person will experience further pain from their broken bones. If the pain in the affected area is persistent, you should visit a chiropractor and seek regular physiotherapy treatments.
Sign #2: Discolouration
Due to the bleeding that occurs when a bone is broken, discolouration will be seen around the affected area. The discolouration is seen shortly after the injury occurs and is part of the healing process. The colour changes progressively as the body absorbs the leaked blood.
By looking at the colour, a professional can tell a fracture’s general age and learn about where it is in the healing process. At first, it may show up as a pink or red bruise. As it progresses, it may turn dark purple or blue due to low oxygen supply and swelling. When the healing process begins, and the hemoglobin starts breaking down, it turns to pale green. In the last stage of healing, it turns to either yellow or brown.
Sign #3: Deformity
Depending on the type of fracture, deformity may be one of the signs and symptoms of broken bones. This occurs when a bone has been displaced in an unnatural position where a joint isn’t present. The deformity may be in the form of a twist, a bend, or an unusual bump. In more severe cases, the broken bone may poke through the skin. If it is just a small crack, the deformity is hard to notice or it may not be present at all.
Sign #4: Loss of pulse
Another common symptom among broken bones is the loss of a pulse. This happens because a fractured bone may interfere with blood circulation around the affected area. In some cases, this results in swelling and an immediate throbbing pain, which increases with activity and subsides with rest. The loss of a pulse also leads to discolouration in the affected area due to a limited supply of oxygen.
Sign #5: Loss of motion
The loss of motion is an immediate sign of a broken bone. An individual may find it difficult or impossible to move the broken limb, such as an injury in the hand, wrist, ankle, and foot. In a more severe case like a spinal injury, paralysis may be a possibility, especially in the legs. In general, it is advisable to avoid moving a broken bone until professional help is present to avoid further damage.
Sign #6: Crepitation
When an injured person moves and the fractured bones are rubbed together, they result in a crackling sound known as crepitation. This is best described as a grating sensation around the affected joint or bone. In some cases, crepitation may not be the result of broken bones. Prolonged mobility and aging are also possible causes.
Sign #7: Swelling
Swelling happens due to an increased movement of white blood cells and fluids to the injured area. When injured, the immune system sends the white blood cells to the affected area. They kill any germs that may be present and get rid of the fractured bone pieces. The swelling is the body’s way of ensuring the patient doesn’t use the injured part, which protects the affected area from further injury.
Sign #8: Dizziness
Some injured individuals may feel woozy, dizzy, or get chills when they fracture a bone. There is even a possibility of passing out from the dizziness, which increases the risk of developing further fractures from a potential fall. If you think you have fractured a bone, getting medical help immediately is advisable. In some cases, the victim may require immediate relocation to a safer place to await professional evacuation and treatment.