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"Can breaking a bone cause fever?"


Yesterday at wrestling practice, my teenage son broke one of his fingers. We took him to the doctor immediately, and he had it put in a cast. Today, he's sick in bed with a fever. Could these things be connected? If so, does that mean he's sick in a serious way?


Questions about symptoms following a fracture are best addressed by the orthopedic surgeon who is treating the fracture. In addition, concerns about a fever can also be brought to the attention of a primary care physician or pediatrician. Fractures are a stress for the body, and it can be very normal to have a mild temperature in the few days following this kind of injury.

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In addition, fractures can also be very painful and contribute to not feeling well in the days following the injury. These kinds of symptoms can vary from person to person and can be different depending on the specific nature of the injury. However, a high fever (greater than 100.5) and other severe cold symptoms such as chills, nausea, vomiting, or muscle aches may indicate that something else is going on. Depending upon the nature of the fracture, it is possible for an infection to develop which could cause a high fever and other symptoms. It would be very important for this kind of infection to be promptly identified and treated to avoid causing more serious problems. In addition, it is also possible for someone who has recently sustained a fracture to also develop a cold or other infection just like someone who has not broken a bone. In order to evaluate a patient with a fever and a recent fracture, a physician would need to take a thorough history and perform a physical exam. It is possible that the fever may be a natural sequelae from the fracture, but it is also possible that there is an infection of some kind occurring in addition to the fever. For this reason, it is best to see a doctor as soon as possible. A high fever, difficulty breathing, severe pain in the limb affected by the fracture, or changes in mental status should be evaluated immediately in the emergency room.

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