What is an Oblique Fracture?
An Oblique Fracture is a fairly common form of a broken bone in which the bone breaks at an angle, normally diagonally. The severity of Oblique Fractures is quite variable depending on the bone that breaks and the severity of the fracture. Oblique Fractures are normally seen to occur in the long bones of the body like the femur or tibia. A forceful twisting motion of the feet or fingers of the hand may also result in an oblique fracture.
What are the Causes of Oblique Fracture?
The bones in our body are designed such that they are able to withstand immense pressure and still provide the support to the body. However, if the pressure on the bone increases to such levels that the bone is not able to handle it then it tends to break resulting in a fracture. Accident, slip and fall from a height, and sporting injuries are the primary causes of fractures.
In Oblique Fractures, generally the bone breaks at an angle and mainly occurs in the bones of the feet and hands. A forceful twisting or torquing motion in which the foot remains stationary while the body is rotated may result in an Oblique Fracture of the foot.
A sporting incident in which an individual is tackled such that the body moves but the foot remains stationary may result in an Oblique Fracture. A child being physically abused where the fingers are twisted forcefully may also result in an Oblique Fracture of the bones of the fingers.
What are the Symptoms of Oblique Fracture?
Severe pain and swelling at the site of the injury is the main symptom of an Oblique Fracture. Additionally, the individual will not be able to move the joint due to pain. There will also be skin discoloration and visible deformity at the site of the injury. In case of an open or unstable fracture, the bone may protrude out of the skin surface and be exposed to environmental contaminants.
How is Oblique Fracture Treated?
The severity of the break decides the treatment course for a patient with an Oblique Fracture. The treatment may be conservative or sometimes surgery may be required to treat the fracture. If the fracture is stable or closed where the bones do not move out of alignment then simple immobilization with the use of a sling, splint or cast for a few weeks allowing the fracture to heal may be enough.
In cases of an unstable or an open fracture where the bones move out of their alignment then a surgical procedure will be required to first realign the bones in their normal anatomical place and then fixing rods and screws so that the bones do not move out of their positions till the time the fracture heals. This is called as open reduction internal fixation. The fixation of rods and screws may be permanent or temporary depending on the severity of the fracture.
While immobilized, the patient can take over the counter pain medications and antiinflammatories to calm down the pain and swelling while the fracture heals. Once complete healing of the fracture is confirmed by x-rays, the patient will be sent to physical therapy for strengthening and range of motion exercises for a few weeks before being discharged to full activity after an Oblique Fracture.
What is the Healing Time for an Oblique Fracture?
The healing of an Oblique Fracture can take a minimum of four to six weeks to completely heal. In cases where surgery is required, this time frame increases to somewhere around three to four months. The healing time in children is a little less as the healing process is faster in children than in adults.