You don't need a break this winter
You don’t need a break this winter
It is not just slippery icy weather that can lead to bone fractures in winter. Inactivity can lead to weakened muscles, making falls more likely among older people, and low vitamin D levels have been linked with weak muscles and brittle bones.
Whatever the cause, a large number of breaks do occur in the winter months.
Fractures, or a break or a crack in a bone, can occur in any bone in our body. They can also occur in different ways. A simple fracture is a clean break to the bone that doesn’t cause any damage to surrounding tissue or break through the skin. A compound fracture is when the surrounding soft tissue and possibly the skin is also damaged and this is a more serious type of fracture because there is a higher risk of infection.
Doctors have various names for different fractures such as a hairline fracture, when the bone is only partially broken, and a compression fracture when the bone collapses. There are also stress fractures, when a bone breaks not because of an accident but because of repeated stress and strain. This is mainly a problem with the lower leg or foot and affects athletes with heavy training programmes far more than others. Bones can also fracture when they are weakened by diseases such as osteoporosis.
If you have had a fall, it is not always clear cut whether a bone is broken or not. The symptoms can vary depending on the bone that has been injured and also the severity of the break. There are some obvious indications of course: pain; part of the body being bent at an unusual angle; inability to move or put weight on the injured limb; or a grinding or grating sensation in the bone. Swelling, bruising and discoloured skin around the bone or lower joint are also indications that a bone might be broken.
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