Structure of the break: As the name suggests, these fractures twist around the axis of the bone in a spiral/corkscrew shape. The fractures can be non-displaced, but are more often than not displaced.
Diagnosis: The way in which the injury occurs should be taken in to account. X-rays can be used to diagnose this type of break, although a CT scan may aid Doctors in differentiating between a possible oblique fracture and a spiral fracture.
Cause: Spiral fractures are caused by sharp, forceful, twisting motions, exerted on a limb that is also being compressed at the same time (eg. being stood on). This type of fracture is common in skiers who can lose control of their skis, causing them to twist inwards or outwards, causing spiral fractures in the tibia or fibula.
Treatment: Due to the nature of spiral fractures they often require surgery before they are immobilised to allow for healing.
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Fig.1 – Courtesy of Novocainestain, Flickr