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Fractures and Dislocations

Upper body extremities have tremendous rotation potential and are far more likely to experience stress from both sports-related and daily activity. Therefore fractures and dislocations are common in the hand and upper extremity.

Among the most common orthopedic injury, a fracture is a crack or break in the bone that can vary in severity. If fragments of the broken bone pierce through the skin, it is called a "compound" or "open” fracture - which are among the more severe fractures and run a greater risk of infection. If the skin remains unaffected by the break, it is called a "simple," or closed fracture.

A dislocation is not a break but rather two bones out of alignment at the joint. Dislocations have the potential to cause nerve and blood vessel injury as well. And a subluxation is a partial or incomplete dislocation that creates an environment of instability.

The most common fracture in those under the age of 65 is a wrist fracture, because very often the hand and wrist are used to break a fall. Shoulder dislocations are also very common among athletes in throwing sports. As an individual ages, fractures increase - particularly in women, who experience increased bone loss with a reduction in estrogen production.