Orthopedic trauma is a broad term that describes any injury that affects bones, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments resulting from trauma elsewhere in the body. The term is broad and may refer to minor fractures or severely broken bones that directly threaten the patient's life. It is considered a subspecialty of orthopedic surgery and focuses on treating broken bones and restoring the injured part of the body to its original strength and maximum function that it had before the injury.
Many different orthopedic traumas are classified according to the body part affected.
Upper extremity injury involving a broken arm or wrist, collarbone, or rib
Lower extremity injury involving a broken ankle, hip, or leg
Soft tissue injury affecting muscles, tendons and ligaments
The most common causes of traumatic injuries are:
Some people are more prone to broken bones after a fall or accident. For example, a person suffering from osteoporosis, a condition in which the person's bones are weak and brittle, can easily break the bone even with a minor fall or slip. Some people may also suffer from conditions that affect their vision or balance, causing them to fall more often and increase their risk of injury.
Additionally, bones don't always break in the same way. The rupture can occur in a straight line, diagonally or spirally. Bones can also break into several pieces and stick out of the skin in open fractures.
Trauma to bones and soft tissues under orthopedic care can be accompanied by several possible symptoms, depending on which part of the body is affected. The most common symptoms of a broken limb or body part are:
Orthopedic trauma is usually followed by a long recovery period, depending on the severity of the injury and the body part affected. The shortest recovery time for minor injuries is usually three weeks. Arm or wrist injuries, as well as a broken collarbone, can take 6 to 8 weeks to heal, ankle injuries up to 6 weeks. There are also cases where the bone does not heal, leaving a permanent injury. However, the recovery time tends to be shorter in children whose bones heal more quickly. Most patients recovering from orthopedic trauma are advised to undergo a post-treatment program to prevent joint or muscle atrophy that can occur as a result of prolonged inactivity.