A fracture is a broken bone. It can range from a thin crack to a complete break. A bone can fracture crosswise, lengthwise, in several places, or into many pieces. Typically, a bone becomes fractured when it is impacted by more force or pressure than it can support.
Fractures can happen in a variety of ways, but there are three common causes:
- Trauma accounts for most fractures. For example, a fall, a motor vehicle accident or a tackle during a football game can all result in a fracture.
- Osteoporosis also can contribute to fractures. Osteoporosis is a bone disease that results in the “thinning” of the bone. The bones become fragile and easily broken.
- Overuse sometimes results in stress fractures. These are common among athletes.
There are five types of fractures:
- Closed or simple fracture. The bone is broken, but the skin is not lacerated.
- Open or compound fracture. The skin may be pierced by the bone or by a blow that breaks the skin at the time of the fracture.
- Transverse fracture. The fracture is at right angles to the long axis of the bone.
- Greenstick fracture. Fracture on one side of the bone, causing a bend on the other side of the bone.
- Comminuted fracture. A fracture that results in three or more bone fragments.
Symptoms of Fracture
Most fractures are accompanied by intense pain when the injury occurs. This discomfort can become worse when the injured area is moved or touched.