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Click on the topics below to find out more from the Orthopaedic connection website of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Fractures: An Overview

Fractured means broken. Whether you have a complete or a partial fracture, you have a broken bone. A bone may be completely fractured or partially fractured in any number of ways (cross-wise, lengthwise, in the middle).

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Growth Plate Fractures

The bones of children and adults share many of the same risks for injury. However, a child's bones are also subject to a unique injury called a growth plate fracture.

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Helping Fractures Heal (Orthobiologics)

Orthobiologics are substances that orthopaedic surgeons use to help injuries heal more quickly. They are used to improve the healing of broken bones and injured muscles, tendons, and ligaments. These products are made from substances that are naturally found in your body. When they are used in higher concentrations, they may help speed up the healing process.

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Infections After Fracture

The majority of fractures (broken bones) do not lead to infections. When infections do occur after fractures, the treatment and recovery can be prolonged and complicated.

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Open Fractures

If the bone breaks in such a way that bone fragments stick out through the skin or a wound penetrates down to the broken bone, the fracture is called an "open" or compound fracture. For example, when a pedestrian is struck by the bumper of a moving car, the broken shinbone may protrude through a tear in the skin and other soft tissues.

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Sprains and Strains: What's the Difference?

Sprains and strains are among the most common injuries in sports. Here are some facts about sprains and strains from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

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Sprains, Strains, and Other Soft-Tissue Injuries

When you participate in sports and physical fitness activities, you can injure the soft tissues of your body. Even simple everyday activities can damage these ligaments, tendons, and muscles.

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Frostbite

It's fine if Jack Frost nips at your nose this winter, but be careful that you don't leave your fingers or toes exposed too long to wintry blasts. It takes only minutes for exposed skin to become frostbitten if the temperature is below 20 F and the wind is blowing at 20 mph or more.

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Muscle Contusion (Bruise)

Athletes in all contact sports have many opportunities to get a muscle contusion (bruise). Contusions are second only to strains as a leading cause of sports injuries.

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Muscle Cramp

Have you ever experienced a "charley horse"? If yes, you probably still remember the sudden, tight and intense pain caused by a muscle locked in spasm.

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Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis and Falls

Osteoporosis or "porous bone" develops when bone calcium is no longer replaced as quickly as it is removed, making the bone brittle. Half of all women over 50 will sustain an osteoporosis-related fracture sometime in their life. Men account for 20 percent of those affected by osteoporosis.

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How to Keep Your Bones Healthy

Osteoporosis causes bones to thin and weaken. With osteoporosis, bone minerals (mainly calcium) are lost, causing bones to become so brittle that they could result in a wrist, hip, or spine fracture.

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First Fracture May Be a Warning Sign

A fracture can be more than a just a broken bone. It may be a warning sign that you have osteoporosis.

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Preventing bone loss

Bones give us the freedom to do the things we want to do. They help us to stand up straight, to run, to jump, and to play. That's why it's important for bones to stay strong and healthy our whole lives.

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Weight-bearing exercises for women and girls

If you want strong bones, you have to use them! Everyone needs lifelong weight-bearing exercise to build and maintain healthy bones. Girls and young women especially should concentrate on building strong bones now to cut their risk of osteoporosis later in life.

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Osteoporosis in Men

Osteoporosis is not just a significant health problem for women. It is also prevalent in aging men, yet the disease often goes undiagnosed or untreated until a bone fracture occurs, according to a paper published in the June 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. These fractures, which are treated primarily by orthopaedic surgeons, can play an important role in identifying men with osteoporosis so the disease also can be treated.

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What Is Your Risk for Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a major health threat for more than 28 million Americans. In the United States, eight million women and two million men already have osteoporosis. More than 18 million Americans have low bone mass placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis.

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Bone Tumor

A tumor is a lump or mass of tissue that forms when cells divide uncontrollably. A growing tumor may replace healthy tissue with abnormal tissue. It may weaken the bone, causing it to break (fracture).

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Treatments and Rehabilitation

Internal Fixation for Fractures

When members of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons were asked to list the most significant advances in treatment during the 20th century, the development of internal fixation ranked high on the list.

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What are NSAIDS?

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs (pronounced en-saids), are the most prescribed medications for treating conditions such as arthritis. Most people are familiar with over-the-counter, nonprescription NSAIDs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen.

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Alternative Methods to Help Manage Pain After Orthopaedic Surgery

After orthopaedic surgery, your doctors and nurses will make every effort to control your pain. While you should expect to feel some discomfort, advancements in pain control now make it easier for your doctor to manage and relieve pain.

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Physical Fields

Broken bones are a common injury; an average of 6 million people in the United States will break a bone each year. Most of these broken bones heal without problems. However, about 300,000 are slow to heal or do not heal at all with traditional methods. For appropriate situations, there is another treatment option to consider the use of physical fields.

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Understanding Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Many people with musculoskeletal problems use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in addition to traditional medical care. CAM providers have varied backgrounds and training.

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Managing Pain With Medications After Orthopaedic Surgery

After orthopaedic surgery, your doctors and nurses will make every effort to control your pain. While you should expect to feel some discomfort, advancements in pain control now make it easier for your doctor to manage and relieve pain.

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Getting the Most Out of Your Doctor's Visit

Your visit with an orthopaedic surgeon is an important meeting that can be most effective if you plan ahead. It is important that you give your doctor the information he or she needs and that you understand what your doctor is recommending.

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Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before Surgery

Surgery and Smoking

You can improve your chances for a successful outcome after surgery if you are a nonsmoker or have stopped smoking, according to researchers. In two specific types of surgeries (spinal fusion and rotator cuff repairs), results were significantly better for people who never smoked and for those who stopped smoking than for smokers.

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Preparing for Surgery

When we go for surgery we turn over our care to highly trained doctors, nurses, and hospital staff. However, we also know that patients who understand their treatment are going to get the most out of their hospital visit. Nothing in life is guaranteed to be free from risk, and that is true of hospitals as well.

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X-rays, CT Scans and MRIs

Diagnostic imaging techniques help narrow the causes of an injury or illness and ensure that the diagnosis is accurate. These techniques include X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

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Electrodiagnostic Testing

Did you know that your body is an electrical generator? Nerves and muscles create electrical signals that deliver messages to and from your brain. Sensory nerves deliver information about your surroundings to the brain. Motor nerves deliver signals from the brain to activate your muscles.

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Prevention and Safety

How to Sit at a Computer

Regular computer users perform 50,000 to 200,000 keystrokes each day. Under certain circumstances and for vulnerable individuals, frequent computer use that involves awkward postures, repetition, and forceful exertions may be related to nerve, muscle, tendon, and ligament damage.

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Guidelines for Preventing Falls

Falls are the leading cause of injuries to older people in the United States. The number of falls and the severity of injury increase with age. While some risk factors for falls, such as heredity and age, cannot be changed, several risk factors can be eliminated or reduced.

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Smoking and Musculoskeletal Health

Smoking remains the number one cause of preventable death. Each year more than 440,000 people in the United States alone die from tobacco-related diseases. In fact, smokers can expect to live 7 to 10 years less than nonsmokers.

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