This is the VOA Special English Health Report.
medical term for a broken bone is a fracture. But there are different kinds of
A single fracture is when a bone is broken in just one
place. You may have heard the term hairline fracture. This is a single fracture
that is very small, like the width of a hair. A complete fracture is when the
bone comes apart.
a bone is broken in more than two places or gets crushed, the name for it is a
Still another condition is called a
bowing fracture. This happens with a bone that bends but does not break. It
happens mostly in children.
Ever heard of a greenstick fracture? This is when a
bone is bent and breaks along only one side, like a young stick of wood.
Another kind of break is an open or
compound fracture. This is when the bone breaks the skin. This is very serious.
Along with the bone damage there is a risk of infection in the open wound.
A lot of
things happen as the body reacts to an injury like a broken bone. You might
suddenly feel lightheaded. You might also feel sick to your stomach.
People who are seriously injured can go into shock.
They might feel cold, dizzy and unable to think clearly. Shock requires
immediate medical attention.
while broken bones can be painful, they are generally not life-threatening. Still,
broken bones should be treated quickly because they can restrict blood flow or
cause nerve damage. Also, the break will start to repair itself, so you want to
make sure the bone is lined up correctly.
are taken to see the break. Treatment depends on the kind of fracture that is
doctor sets a broken bone to make sure it is in the correct position. Severe
breaks may require an operation to hold the bone together with metal plates and
a hard cast may be put around the area of the break to hold the bone in place
while it heals. Casts are usually worn for one to two months. In some cases,
instead of a cast, a splint made of plastic or metal will be secured over the
area to restrict movement.
Bones need calcium and vitamin D to grow
and reach their full strength. Keeping bones strong with exercise may also help
prevent fractures, especially if you wear the right sports protection during
activities. If you think elbow and knee pads might be restrictive, try wearing a
that's the VOA Special English Health Report, written by Caty Weaver. Transcripts,
MP3s and podcasts of our reports are at voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Steve Ember.