A sternum fracture is a medical term referring to a condition which is characterized by a crack in the sternum bone also known as breast bone, situated at the front of one’s chest. The breast bone refers to a long compressed blade- shaped bone that is located at the center of the chest. A blow to the chest may result to stress to the sternum bone which might eventually cause injury. A sternum fracture thus comes about when the injury bruises the sternum when the impact is traumatic beyond what the bone can withstand breaking the sternum.
Sternum Fracture Signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms of sternum fracture include a crunching or grinding noise at the location of the injury, bruising and inflammation around the chest spot may also be realized, some chest pains, difficulty when the patient is breathing or pain in the chest when one coughs, or in a case where he or she laughs or sneezes. In addition, the person experiences muscles spasms and distorted form of the ribcage.
Sternum Fracture Causes
Sternum fracture comes as a result of a direct blow to the chest from an object commonly due to a motor vehicle accident, whereby the moving chest strikes the steering wheel or seat belt. It may also occur in contact sports like football, netball, rugby as a result of a collision with another player, or, from an impact from a ball in sports such as hockey and golf.
Sternum Fracture Prevention
Since most of these types of fractures are commonly caused due to traffic accidents, it is recommended that people travelling in vehicles should wear seat belts at all times. This measure prevents breastbone fractures. Besides, wearing protective gear while involved in contact sports controls the vulnerability of persons involved from getting sternum fracture. Most importantly, sportsmen and women in violent sports are encouraged to avoid hard tackling especially those that are likely to hit or injure their ribcage.
Sternum Fracture Risk factors
Individuals who work at heights and those who participate in direct contact sports like wrestling and football are at risk of sustaining a sternum fracture. In addition, weight lifters, golfers and other athletes are at an augmented risk of getting strain fractures of the sternum.
Sternum Fracture Treatment
When an individual suffers from sternum fracture, he requires sufficient pain relief to help promote adequate chest expansion during breathing. It also can help avoid pneumonia. Intercostals nerve blocks might also be applied to control increasing pain. An individual with stress fractures of the sternum should thus receive the same treatment as the case of a minor sternal fracture.
A displaced sternum may also be treated by making a small cut into the chest so as to use a hook to pull the sternum back to its usual position. However, a more severe sternal fracture requires surgical fixation to speed the process of healing in unstable and painful fractures.