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Fracture Care - Treatment for Broken Bones

​​​​Bones will often flex and give when pressed by an outside force. However, when the force is too great, bones can crack or break (fracture) all the way through.

In extreme cases a bone may break and stick out through the skin or an exterior wound can be pierced down to the broken bone. This type of condition is known as an “open” fracture.

Marshfield Clinic has orthopedic specialists trained to treat fractures related to traumatic forces.


A Marshfield Clinic physician will recommend a treatment based on the severity of the break, the specific bone that is broken and whether or not it’s “open.”


  • A cast made of plaster or fiberglass is a common treatment for breaks when the bones are repositioned and they can be held in place while healing.
  • Functional cast or brace – this device holds the broken bone in place but allows some limited movement of nearby joints.


  • This treatment involves a slow, pulling force administered through tapes on the skin or a metal pin placed in a bone. This pulling will gently realign the bone over time.


  • Open Reduction refers to a procedure in which a surgeon will reposition (reduce) broken bones into their original position then affix them together using screws, and metal plates or rods inside or directly on the surface of the bone.
  • External fixation is a treatment in which pins and screws are placed on top and bottom of the location of the fracture and connected to metal bars outside the skin. This device allows the bones to heal properly and is then removed.