Common Fractures in Sports: First Aid Treatment

A fracture is a break or crack in the bone. It is usually caused by trauma, osteoporosis, and overuse. Fractures caused by overuse or repetitive motion are known as stress fractures and are common in athletes.

Types of Fractures

There are two main classifications of fractures: compound (open) and simple (closed). A fracture is considered compound when the broken bone has pierced through the soft tissues and the skin, creating an open wound. A simple fracture, on the other hand, has little to no damage to the soft tissues surrounding the bone.

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Aside from these two major classifications, there are also other types of fractures:

  • Greenstick. An incomplete fracture wherein the bone did not separate completely. This is common in children because their bones are more flexible.
  • Spiral. Commonly seen in a twisting injury wherein the break spirals around the bone.
  • Transverse. The fracture is a horizontal line across the bone.
  • Compression. The bone appears crushed or compressed, making it look flatter. This is usually seen in the spine.
  • Oblique. The fracture is a diagonal break across the bone.
  • Segmental. A segment of the bone is floating because the same bone is fractured in two places. This is commonly seen in long bone fractures.
  • Comminuted. There are three or more fragments of broken bones at the site of impact.
  • Stress. Usually caused by repeated movements and actions that increase the pressure on the bones.

Signs and Symptoms of Fractures

If a fracture is suspected, you should look for the following signs and symptoms, according to experts in sports medicine in Boca Raton. Fractures are generally painful and the pain gets worse with movement. There are also swelling, bruising, and deformity. Compound or open fractures are easier to diagnose, as you can see the broken bone protruding from the skin.

Common Fractures in Sports

Stress fractures are most commonly seen in athletes whose sports require repetitive movements such as marathon runners. Fractures are also common in contact sports such as basketball, rugby, and football. The most commonly fractured bones in contact sports are the hands, wrist, collarbone, ankle, feet, and the long bones of the lower extremities.

First Aid Treatment for Fractures

If you suspect a fractured bone, stop whatever you are doing and following these initial treatments recommended by our doctors in sports medicine Boca Raton to prevent the injury from getting worse.

According to a study in the World Journal of Orthopedics, the goal of treatment in sports medicine is to quickly restore the function of the injured area to help the patient return to play at the soonest and safest possible time.

  • Rest. Rest and avoid moving the injured area unnecessarily, as this is very painful and can make the fracture worse.
  • Control the bleeding, in case of a compound fracture. Using a sterile or a clean bandage or a piece of clothing, apply pressure to the wound.
  • Ice and immobilization. Apply an ice pack to the injured area to prevent further swelling and relieve pain. Do not apply the ice directly to the skin. Immobilize the injury using a splint. You can use a hard splint, like a padded board or a cardboard box, for long bone fractures and a soft splint, like a folded blanket, towels and a pillow for ankle, wrist, and collarbone fractures.
  • Compress. Secure the splint in place using a bandage or a strip of cloth. Do not tie it too tightly, as this can impede blood flow. Do not place the ties directly over the fractured area; they should be above and below the injury.
  • Elevate. Once the splint is secured, elevating the injury can help control the bleeding and reduce the swelling.

The patient must be brought to the nearest equipped healthcare facility for further medical assessment and treatment.

Learn more about Orthopedics in Palm Beach County

Orthopaedic Surgery Associates has helped many orthopedic patients improve their health and quality of life throughout the years. We have qualified specialists and state-of-the-art technology – you are in good hands.

If you have been experiencing knee pain, don’t hesitate to consult our specialist orthopedics in Palm Beach County to get a thorough assessment and accurate diagnosis of your condition. You can also request an appointment or call us at (561) 395-5733.


The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.