A broken bone is called a fracture. In order for a fracture to heal, the bones must be held in the correct position and protected.
Soon after a fracture occurs, the body acts to protect the injured area, and forms a protective blood clot and callus around the fracture.
New “threads” of bone cells start to grow on both sides of the fracture line. These threads grow toward each other.
The fracture closes and the callus is absorbed. Depending upon the type of fracture, this healing process may take up to a year.
Casts and splints support and protect injured bones and soft tissue. When you break a bone, your doctor will put the pieces back together in the right position. Casts and splints hold the bones in place while they heal. They also reduce pain, swelling, and muscle spasm.
In some cases, splints and casts are applied following surgery.
Splints or “half-casts” provide less support than casts. However, splints can be adjusted to accommodate swelling from injuries easier than enclosed casts. Your doctor will decide which type of support is best for you.
Most patients with shoulder dislocation show up with their arm held in a position of comfort. The shoulder joint usually has an obvious deformity. There will be tenderness around the joint with limited motion. X-rays can further help identify the underlying abnormality, particularly with respect to which direction the shoulder is dislocated, and if there is an associated fracture. Advanced imaging such as ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans can further assist with the evaluation of other structures in the shoulder.
Immediate treatment of a dislocation involves relocating the ball into the socket as soon as possible. This can be done by a number of different techniques. Prompt relocation by a physician is preferred, and is easiest before the muscles go into spasm, which can make the reduction more difficult. After relocation, treatment may include a sling for comfort, ice, and pain management. A guided rehabilitation program is important for return of range of motion and strength. Braces can be used in some sports to decrease the risk of repeat dislocations. Surgery may be considered, particularly for younger patients, or for those who have dislocated more than once.