Division of Trauma

TraumaThe Division is headed by James B. Day, MD, Franklin D. Shuler, MD and Thomas C. Emmer, MD. The Trauma team hopes to provide you with the latest treatments in Orthopaedic Trauma while providing the caring support you have come to expect from the physicians and staff at Marshall Orthopaedics. Recovery after a traumatic injury can be extensive, but our staff will be here to guide you every step of the way. Marshall Orthopaedics has developed this webpage to be used as a resource for your pre-procedure and post-recovery concerns.

Q: What is a fracture?

A: A fracture is an injury involving a break in a bone.

Q: What are common joint injuries?

A: The most common joint injuries are sprains & contusions. These types of injuries typically do not need surgery.

Q: How do fractures happen?

A: Fractures can happen in a variety of ways, but there are three common causes:

  • Trauma accounts for most fractures. For example, a fall, a motor vehicle accident or a tackle during a football game can all result in a fracture.
  • Osteoporosis also can contribute to fractures. Osteoporosis is a bone disease that results in the "thinning" of the bone. The bones become fragile and easily broken.
  • Overuse sometimes results in stress fractures. These are common among athletes.

Q: How are fractures diagnosed?

A: Usually, you will know immediately if you have broken a bone. You may hear a snap or cracking sound. The area around the fracture will be tender and swollen. A limb may be deformed, or a part of the bone may puncture through the skin.

Doctors usually use an X-ray to verify the diagnosis. Stress fractures are more difficult to diagnose, because they may not immediately appear on an X-ray; however, there may be pain, tenderness and mild swelling.

Q: What types of fractures are there?

A: The different types of fractures include:

  • Closed or simple fracture. The bone is broken, but the skin is not lacerated.
  • Open or compound fracture. The skin may be pierced by the bone or by a blow that breaks the skin at the time of the fracture. The bone may or may not be visible in the wound.
  • Transverse fracture. The fracture is at right angles to the long axis of the bone.
  • Greenstick fracture. Fracture on one side of the bone, causing a bend on the other side of the bone.
  • Comminuted fracture. A fracture that results in three or more bone fragments.

Questions and Answers from American Academic of Orthopaedic Surgeons. For more information visit