Posts for category: Open Fractures
Those who watched the Elite Eight game of Louisville against Duke won’t easily forget the injury that guard Kevin Ware suffered during the game. After attempting to guard a shot taken by Duke, Ware landed awkwardly and fractured his tibia (shin bone). Those watching saw the bone protrude through the skin – this type of fracture is known as an “open fracture.” While fractures are a common sports injury, open fractures occur most often in contact sports like football. These fractures can occur in any bone, including the bones of the feet. Recently, UFC fighter Jon Jones suffered an open fracture of his big toe during a match against Tito Ortiz. Unlike Ware’s injury which stopped the game, Jones’ injury was not noticed until after the match was over.
These types of fractures are not only more gruesome than other fractures, but also more difficult to treat for two reasons. First the fact that bone is exposed increases the risk of infection. Before the fracture can be fixed, the bone must be cleaned to reduce the risk of infection. Second, whereas many fractures that don’t break the skin can be treated with a cast, the bone pieces in open fractures are often further apart and need to be held in place with special surgical hardware.
Open fractures can take between 6 months and a year to heal, which is more than the time required for fractures that don’t break the skin. While their injuries may have been gruesome, both Ware and Jones got prompt treatment to fix the fracture and should go on to heal just fine.
While open fractures may be more obvious than other fractures, all injuries with possible fractures need to be examined. Please make an appointment to see one of our four physicians at Advanced Foot and Ankle Care if you injure your lower leg or foot and suspect that one of the bones might be broken. If fractures are not properly identified and treated correctly, the bones may not heal, or they may heal in an inappropriate alignment, which can both be prevented with prompt care.