What are the Different Types of Skeletal Trauma?

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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 01 March 2020
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There are numerous types of skeletal trauma that can occur in all age groups, including severed limbs and bone fractures. Blunt trauma is another type of skeletal trauma often incurred when the body is hit by a heavy object with great force. When injuries occur to the skeletal muscles, this also is a type of skeletal trauma, typically classified as a musculoskeletal injury.

A very serious type of skeletal trauma is a skull fracture. This type of injury can cause bleeding or swelling in the brain, which can be life-threatening. It can also cause brain damage or coma. When a fracture of the skull is suspected, a physician will typically perform a computed tomography (CT) scan. This enables the doctor to see detailed images within the injury site. A depressed skull fracture occurs when a chipped portion of bone protrudes and presses against brain matter.

Facial fractures that do not involve the skull are another type of skeletal trauma. Fractures of the orbital bone can happen with blunt force trauma. Sometimes called an orbital rim fracture, this occurs when the bone surrounding the eye socket is fractured. Some symptoms of an orbital bone fracture include a black eye or discoloration and possible bleeding within the eye itself. Typically, a CT scan is taken to determine the extent of the injury.


Serious accidents that involve amputation or partial amputation of a finger, toe or limb are types of trauma that can cause massive bleeding. Often this type of injury is a result of accidents involving machinery. In some cases, the surgeon is able to reattach a severed body part. Restoring it to full function without some type of nerve damage may or may not be successful.

Musculoskeletal injury (MSI) is a type of trauma that can involve spinal cord injury. This can cause paralysis if the spinal cord is severed or severely damaged. Other types of musculoskeletal trauma involve dislocation of a joint or bone, typically though injury. MSI trauma might also cause nerve damage or tendon injuries. Trauma such as facet impingement or a glenoid labrum tear are other forms of injuries affecting the musculoskeletal system.

In many cases, a course of treatment recommended for certain types of musculoskeletal trauma includes physical therapy. This might include heat therapy or specially designated exercises to help strengthen injured and affected areas. Isometric or isokinetic exercises are sometimes prescribed for the patient with skeletal injuries.

Pediatric skeletal trauma can be more complex because of the differences in structure. A child's biological structure is constantly developing; therefore, treatment or diagnostic measures will differ from that of an adult's. Skeletal trauma such as bone fractures in children typically heals faster than adult trauma. When a sudden or unexplained case of skeletal trauma occurs in a child, child abuse may be investigated.


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