Emmi Patient Education
Emmi is a series of free, unique, web-based educational programs for Houston Methodist patients that make complex medical information easy to understand.
Fractures & Trauma
A fracture – often referred to as a “broken bone” – is a common form of orthopedic injury. There are several types of fractures that can occur depending upon the force of impact to the bone, and how the injury occurred. A sudden twist or a hard fall can result in a fracture, as can trauma from an accident or a sports injury.
While most fractures heal normally, rare complications can occur. In the case of what is known as an open (or compound) fracture, the injury is so severe that the bone can break through the skin. Nonunion fractures are those which fail to heal, even after the typical recovery period. Malunion fractures occur when a break in a bone heals without proper alignment, causing an angle or other deformity in the bone.
Chronic Bone Infections (Osteomyelitis)
Osteomyelitis is a bacterial infection in a bone, and a painful inflammatory disease that can destroy bone tissue. It may be diagnosed as either an acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term) disease. Osteomyelitis can affect the legs, arms, spine or hips, depending upon your overall health and ability to resist the infection. Treatments may include IV antibiotics, pain management, bed rest or restricted movement, or surgery to drain the infection from the bone.
Each of a joint’s surfaces is covered by a thin layer of cartilage which provides for smooth friction-free movement. Arthritis refers to the loss of this protective cartilage covering on the ends of the bones. The most common form is osteoarthritis, which has a genetic component, but is also related to wear-and-tear. Some patients have an inflammatory condition which attacks the joints, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis is usually progressive, and results in painful aching, grinding and stiffness as the rough surfaces of the bones in the joint rub against each other. It is common in the weight bearing joints, such as the knee. The symptoms can often be controlled with weight loss, NSAIDs, and activity modification, and bracing. Occasional corticosteroid or visco-supplementation injections can be helpful. If pain persists or continues to limit activities, arthritis is treated by replacing the worn out surfaces with a partial or total joint replacement.