Sternum fracture

A sternum fracture involves damage to the breast bone. A fracture is typically triggered by a direct blow or strike on the bone, usually at the front of the chest. In most cases, the injury occurs in vehicular accidents.

What are the indications?

If an individual has a sternum fracture, the usual indications include the following:

  • Abrupt onset of pain at the front part of the chest after a fall or impact
    Sternum fracture

    The treatment for a sternum fracture that is not displaced typically involves adequate rest and pain medications or anti-inflammatory drugs.

  • Localized pain that does not radiate
  • Tenderness of the site
  • Bruising can manifest after a few hours
  • Difficulty breathing in some individuals

What are the causes?

A sternum fracture typically occurs in vehicular accidents. The sternum is also fractured during chest compression during CPR. In some cases, a sternum fracture can also occur during activities that require less force and have been reported among golfers and weight lifters. As for the elderly with osteoporosis, they are also at higher risk.

Even though a fracture is a common injury that is easy to manage, a sternal fracture must be carefully assessed and monitored for other complications. These might include cardiac and pulmonary contusions. In case the fractured region of the bone was displaced, it is likely to cause additional complications.

Management

The treatment for a sternum fracture that is not displaced typically involves adequate rest and pain medications or anti-inflammatory drugs. In case the bone fragment becomes displaced, surgery is required to reposition the bone pieces and even secure them with screws or pins.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on a sternum fracture is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage fractures, register for a first aid and CPR course with Edmonton First Aid.

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