Published August 10, 2017

What To Do When You Break A Bone In Shanghai

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Most fractures are caused by injuries such as collisions during sports matches. However, they can also be caused by tumors (also known as a pathological fracture) or by osteoporosis. Older people have a tendency to break bones more often, especially the hip or the wrist.


Types of bone fractures


Closed fracture, whereby the damaged bone does not pierce the skin.

Open or compound fracture, in which the bone pierces the skin. These fractures tend to be  more serious due to the risk of infection and because blood vessels and nerves may also get  damaged.


Open and closed fractures in relation to shape and pattern


Transverse fracture: The bone is broken straight through. This is often found in longer bones found in the arms or legs and is usually the result of a hard collision.


Spiral fracture: This fracture is also called an oblique fracture. These fractures are usually caused by a rotational movement that is suddenly made, such as during a fall. Spiral fractures usually occur in the bones of the arms and legs.


Green stick fracture: If the bone of a child's arm or leg breaks, but the outside (cortex) stays intact.


Communitive fracture: The bone is broken into several small pieces. These fractures usually result from a severe direct injury. With this kind of fracture, there is also a strong chance that the soft tissue surrounding the fracture will also be damaged.


Avulsion fracture: When a small piece of bone breaks off. Avulsion fractures also occur when bone tears off from a tendon.

Compression fracture: In compression fracture, there are depressions of spongy bone. You may find this bone in the spine. You are at greater risk of compression fracture if you suffer from osteoporosis or limb disorder.


Stress fractures: These fractures result from prolonged repeated peak loads. You often encounter them in the feet of long-distance runners (marsfracture). In the elderly, fractures can occur, for example, just by repeated coughing, which can result in a broken rib.



X-rays will be made of the affected body part to determine what type of fracture it is. Multiple or complicated fractures may require a CT scan or MRI. If a fracture develops without a clear reason, then it is necessary to determine whether the bones are weaker due to a disease.



Bone pieces that have been moved will first be returned to their normal place. This is also called reposition. Depending on the place and severity of the fracture, this is done under local or overall anesthetic, without surgery (closed reposition) or with an operation (open reposition).



In adults, fractures should take about six to eight weeks to cure. In children, it is usually much faster, babies can heal in as little as two weeks.


What to do when you think you have a fracture

You should go to a hospital that has an emergency department, ICU, x-ray, ct and mri scan and medical doctors that are specialized in fractures. Shanghai United Family is one of these comprehensive hospitals. The orthopedic and sportsmedicine team has specialized orthopedic surgeons who only work on fracture treatment.


Sponsored content provided by Shanghai United Family Hospital and written by Dr Derk C. Rietveld, Chief of Sports Medicine; Shoulder, Knee, Ankle Surgeon.




Derk C. RIETVELD_0.jpg

Dr. Rietveld received his medical and resident orthopedic surgery degree from Leiden University Medical Center in 1994 and 2002. He did his Fellowship training at the Reinier de Graaf Hospital in the Netherlands and also in Switzerland, specializing in sports orthopedics and traumatology. Dr. Rietveld has over 20 years of clinical experience, and his vision is that surgery is not always necessary. Therefore good cooperation with the rehabilitation team is important. In addition to specializing in the treatment and diagnosis of orthopedic surgery and sports medicine, he is also a teacher in a cadaver dissection course for Chinese orthopedic surgeons.

Dr. Rietveld speaks English, Dutch, German, and (conversational) French.


Shanghai United Family Hospital and Clinics (SHU) is a purpose-built full service, internationally accredited facility that offers highly qualified medical staff from

around the world and direct billing to over 40 global insurance companies. Since opening its doors on December 1, 2004, the hospital’s sole mission is to provide comprehensive,

integrated healthcare services in a uniquely warm and caring patient and family service oriented environment.



Shanghai United Family Hospital and Clinics

Appointment Center : 400 639 3900

1139 Xianxia Road, Changning District, Shanghai