Smith Fracture Treatment
The most common type of Smith fracture is the Smith mnemonics. These are fractures which occur due to overuse or repetitive strain injury. They can be classified into two types: the medial and lateral ones.
The medial one occurs when there is a tear in the ligament which connects the tibia bone with the fibula bone at its tip (the knee joint). The lateral one occurs when there is a tear in the ligament which connects the tibia bone with the calcaneus bone at its base (the ankle joint).
In both cases, it means that there is a break in the connective tissue between these bones. When this happens, there will be pain and swelling. If left untreated, this may lead to arthritis of the affected area.
A second type of Smith fracture is called the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear. This kind of fracture involves a tear in the ACL itself. There are several different causes for this kind of injury.
One cause is trauma such as being tackled during sports activities or falling down stairs while doing housework. Another cause could be from repetitive loading such as lifting heavy objects or running up and down steps too fast.
As mentioned, the tear in the ACL leads to swelling and pain. If it is not treated or if it is treated improperly, it can lead to long-term complications such as degenerative joint disease of the knee joint, or even early onset of arthritis. It is also possible for the injured person to develop a limp when walking.
What Are the Symptoms of a Smith Fracture?
You can tell that you have a Smith fracture by identifying these symptoms:
1. Pain at the time of injury.
The pain is felt at the part of the leg where there is a visible deformity, such as swelling or a visible bone protrusion.
2. A feeling that something is wrong with the injured leg.
This can range from mild to severe.
3. Inability to bear weight on the leg.
In some cases, the patient may not be able to put any weight at all on the leg.
4. Visible deformity of the leg.
Even without pain and inability to bear weight on the leg, you can have a visible deformity which indicates a possible injury. These deformities can include a visibly broken or twisted ankle or foot, or even a swollen, misshapen joint.
5. Inability to walk without a limp.
6. Visible deformity of the foot or ankle.
This can range from being “out” of shape to looking twisted or broken.
What Are the Treatments for a Smith Fracture?
There are many different treatment options available for a smith fracture and these include:
1. Resting the injured leg.
In most cases, all it takes is some simple rest and immobilization for three to five weeks to get over a simple smith fracture. The leg should be raised above the heart at all times and the patient should take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to alleviate the swelling and pain.
2. Padding and splinting.
For a simple fracture, most doctors will recommend that you put some strong tape around the injured leg and then put on a stiff plastic splint to keep the tape in place.
If the broken bone is protruding out of the skin, it may be necessary to perform surgery in order to remove the bone fragments and clean the area.
In some cases, surgery isn’t necessary and a more traditional cast can work just as well.
5. Arthroscopic surgery is a newer way to deal with a smith fracture and involves making small incisions in the knee and then inserting a small camera into the knee joint.
Sources & references used in this article:
Bilateral Smith fracture of the radius caused by airbag deployment by F Marco, A Garcia-Lopez, C Leon… – Journal of Trauma …, 1996 – cdn.journals.lww.com
Reduction of Smith’s fracture by FB Thomas – The Journal of bone and joint surgery …, 1957 – online.boneandjoint.org.uk
Smith’s fracture and anterior marginal fracture of radius by TJ Mills – British medical journal, 1957 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Traumatic entrapment of the extensor pollicis longus tendon in Smith’s fracture of the radius—Case report by Y Murakami, K Todani – Journal of Hand Surgery, 1981 – jhandsurg.org
Fracture of the distal radius: epidemiology and premanagement radiographic characterization by JA Porrino Jr, E Maloney, K Scherer… – American Journal of …, 2014 – Am Roentgen Ray Soc
Dislocation of the extensor pollicis longus tendon in Smith’s fracture of the radius: a case report by DD HUNT – JBJS, 1969 – journals.lww.com
Common upper extremity fracture eponyms: a look into what they really mean by RA Caldwell, PL Shorten, NT Morrell – The Journal of Hand Surgery, 2019 – Elsevier