What is a Transverse Fracture?
A fracture is a medical term for a broken bone. A fracture occurs when excessive force is applied on the bone more than it can handle resulting in the bone to snap or break. Minor fractures cause just a crack in the bone while major fractures can completely shatter the bone.
There are different types of fracture depending on the situation when the injury was caused and the force that was applied on the bone during the injury. One such type of fracture is the Transverse Fracture. When the break in the bone occurs due to excessive force acting perpendicular to the bone is termed as a Transverse Fracture.
What are the Causes of Transverse Fracture?
The bones form the support framework of the body. They are designed in such a way that they can absorb immense amount of pressure. However, if the pressure increases to such an extent that bone is not able to handle then it tends to crack or even shatter causing a fracture. This usually happens after an accident and injury subsequent to that. An individual can sustain a Transverse Fracture due to any of the following reasons:
- A direct blow to the bone with a heavy object like in a domestic violence or being mobbed
- Falling from a height
- Falling on uneven surfaces
- Sporting activities like football and rugby
- Medical conditions like osteoporosis which makes the bone weak and brittle and easy to break, seen mostly in older adults
What are the Symptoms of Transverse Fracture?
A Transverse Fracture will cause the patient to feel immense pain at the site of the injury. There will be visible swelling and tenderness. At the time of the injury, the patient will hear a popping or a snapping sound of the bone breaking or cracking. A visible deformity at the site of the injury with skin discoloration can also be observed in a Transverse Fracture. If the fracture occurs in the bones of the extremities then the patient will not be able to move the injured extremity.
How is Transverse Fracture Treated?
The treatment for a Transverse Fracture depends on the extent of the fracture. If there is just a minor crack in the bone then immobilization with a bandage and pain medication in the form of NSAIDs can be given to calm down the pain, swelling and inflammation and allowing the fracture to heal. The patient will also have to elevate the fractured area to If the patient has suffered a major injury and there is complete break of the bone then the patient will have to be taken to the emergency room for immediate treatment.
If the arm or the leg is fractured then the physician will prescribe a splint or a sling to immobilize the area and allow the fracture to heal. If the hip or the pelvis is broken then the patient will be in complete bedrest until the fracture heals completely.
For fractures where the bone has not moved out of their alignment then casting will be done to keep the bone in place and allow the fracture to heal. If the bones have moved out of their alignment, then open reduction internal fixation will be done first to realign the bones and then the patient will be casted to allow the fracture to heal.
Surgical procedure is done only for open or compound fractures where the impact of the injury causes the bones to move out of their alignment and sometimes even protrude out of the skin surface.
How Long Does Transverse Fracture Take to Heal?
Transverse Fracture can take weeks to months to heal depending on the extent of the injury. On an average, it takes about six weeks for a Transverse Fracture to heal completely in adults while in children in may take about four weeks to heal.
Once the fracture has healed the patient will be asked to perform strengthening and range of motion exercises to decrease stiffness and strengthen the muscles surrounding the bone. The exercises should be done diligently to expedite healing and return back to activities at the earliest possible time.
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). (2021). Fractures (Broken Bones). AAOS. Retrieved from https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/fractures-broken-bones/
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