Fractures, dislocations and soft tissue injuries all fall under the banner of orthopaedic trauma conditions, which can be experienced at any age and by any number of means. Some of the most common orthopaedic trauma injuries occur on the hands and upper extremities, the feet and ankles, and the tibial and femoral shafts.
Bone fractures occur with high frequency and can be caused by high-energy impacts that result in multiple injuries, or by another force that results in an isolated dislocation or fracture. The symptoms of orthopaedic trauma can be highly visible, such as an obviously misshapen or malformed joint or limb, which is sometimes visible through broken skin. The pain from orthopaedic trauma can range from severe to mild; however, the patient will often complain of swelling, tenderness, bruising or numbness near the site of injury, as well as having restricted movement.
For any injuries that are unclear to the eye, such as a fracture, a diagnosis is achieved by taking X-rays of the area. Other types of imaging that can also be used include computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. Depending on the severity of the injury, the patient may undergo surgical or non-surgical treatment. Non-surgical procedures include casts, braces, tractions and splints, which work by isolating and immobilising the injured area; a combination of antibiotics and painkillers can be prescribed to manage pain and clear up infections; and finally, rehabilitation and physiotherapy can be used to strengthen and treat orthopaedic injuries caused by trauma.
Surgery is required to treat broken bones, as well as other trauma conditions that are severe, complicated, displaced or otherwise resistant to healing. Surgery often involves fixating the two parts of a broken bone, using metal screws, pins and plates, and an open fracture would also require intravenous antibiotics, stabilisation of the fracture and a full cleaning of the trauma site to remove debris and dirt.
Professor Ali Ghoz is an experienced and established consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon, who has specialised in knee and hip surgery. Based in London and Reading, Professor Ghoz is a leading force in minimally-invasive procedures and is at the cutting edge of medical technology, having taken up computer-guided techniques to achieve the best results possible in complex surgeries.