An oblique fracture happens when your bone (especially long bones) breaks at an angle. This type of fracture is commonly found in bones like the femur or tibia. A visible deformity is caused under your skin due to this type of fracture. For oblique fracture treatment, you should opt for surgery to repair the structure. People may require a few months to get rid of the fracture.
Oblique Fracture Definition
Oblique fractures are those fractures when your bones are broken at an angle. These fractures can be called complete fractures. In these types of fractures, the break line may go all the way through your bone.
Oblique fractures are common in long bones in your body. Some of the common bones are,
- Femur (thigh)
- Tibia (shin)
- Fibula (calf)
- Humerus (upper arm)
- Radius and ulna (forearm)
- Clavicle (collarbone)
Oblique Fracture Causes
These types of fractures occur from falls or other accidents like car accidents/sports injuries. When an object hits your bone at an angle, then you may get an oblique fracture. Sometimes, you need surgery for complete healing.
Some patients may only require a splint or cast to heal the bone. Your recovery depends on which of your bones are broken and what are the causes of this fracture. People may require a few months to recover from this type of oblique fracture.
Symptoms of Oblique Fracture
Common symptoms could be:
- Can’t move your body part easily
- Bruise or discoloration
- A bump under your skin (not visible on your body)
What tests are required to diagnose an oblique fracture?
An expert healthcare professional may diagnose an oblique fracture with physical examination and imaging tests.
After finishing the physical examination, your doctor will suggest some imaging tests.
- X-Rays: an X-ray will confirm whether you have an oblique fracture or other types of fractures. An X-ray will also confirm how your injured bones are.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Your doctor may recommend an MRI to get a complete picture of your damaged bones and their nearby areas. This test will also show all the tissues around your bones. This test is imperative to check whether your muscles, connective tissue and organs were damaged or not.
- CT scan: If you require surgery for your oblique fracture, then by doing a CT scan, your doctor will know how damaged your bones are. A CT scan will offer a more detailed picture of your injured bones and nearby areas than an X-Ray. If your X-rays were inconclusive, then your doctor will certainly refer you to a CT scan.
Oblique Fracture Treatment
Your treatment depends on which bones are and what are the reasons for their break. Your doctor may suggest a few treatment methods to cure oblique fracture.
If the break is not severe and your bones didn’t go far from the place, then you may only need a splint or cast. Splinting usually stays up to five weeks. But if you require a cast, then it may stay longer (6-8 weeks). After a splint or cast, you may need to do follow-up X-rays to ensure your bones are healing properly.
2. Closed Reduction
If the break is severe, then you might need a closed reduction to reset your bones. This is a non-surgical procedure where your doctor physically pushes and pulls your body on the outside to realign your injured bones on the inside. To reduce pain during the procedure, you may receive the following:
- Local anesthesia to numb the surrounding area of your fractured bone
- Sedatives for a whole-body relaxation
- General anesthesia will make you sleep throughout the procedure
- After the closed reduction, your doctor may give you a splint or cast
3. Oblique fracture surgery
There are mainly two types of oblique fracture surgeries.
4. Internal Fixation
Surgery is recommended for more severe fractures. An expert surgeon will reset your bones to their correct position and then secure them in such a way so that they can heal and grow back together. Internal fixation is performed where the surgeon inserts pieces of metal into your bone to hold it in the correct place.
Internal fixation techniques include:
- Rods: A rod is inserted through the center of your bone that goes from top to bottom.
- Plates and Screws: Metal plates are screwed into your bone so that they can hold pieces together in one place.
- Pins and Wires: Pins and wires are required to hold pieces of your bone in places that are too tiny for other clasps.
These inserted pieces may stay forever with some people. Follow-up surgeries are required to remove them.
5. External fixation
In this case, your surgeon will put screws in your bone on either side of the fracture inside your body. Then, they will fasten them to a brace or bracket around the bone outside of your body. This is temporary to stabilize your fracture.
If joints like your hip, knee or shoulder are broken, then an arthroplasty could be the best option. By removing your damaged joint, a surgeon will replace it with an artificial joint. The artificial joint (prosthesis) can be metal, ceramic or heavy-duty plastic. Your new joint is identical to your natural joint and will move similarly.
7. Bone Grafting
If your oblique fracture is heavily displaced or your bone isn’t healing back together, then you might need bone grafting. Your doctor may insert additional bone tissue to rejoin your cracked bone. After that, they will perform an internal fixation to hold the pieces together.
Bone grafts can come from the following sources
- Internally from somewhere else in your body
- An external donor
- An artificial replacement piece
Oblique fracture surgeries come under daycare procedures, so you can go home the same day. But for a larger bone (like your femur), you might need to stay in the hospital.
After the surgery, you might require a brace, splint or cast before you can start putting any weight on it again.
What medicines are used to treat oblique fractures?
Over-the-counter NSAIDs like aspirin or ibuprofen are useful in controlling bleeding and minimizing complications after surgery. To reduce your pain after surgery, your doctor may recommend these medications. There are some side effects of NSAIDs
- Stomach pain
- Bowel complications
The Bottom Line
Though an oblique fracture is not life-threatening, it can give you enough pain and agony. A lot of treatments are available for oblique fractures. So, you should choose the right treatment option to ensure your bones and bodies are healing properly. Also, try to keep your bones healthy and sturdier so that they can’t break easily.