Broken Bones

Broken bones (also called fractures) are common injuries. The average person has two broken bones in a lifetime. Bones are built to be strong, but if a force is applied that is greater than a bone’s strength, it will break. When the bone is broken but remains inside the skin, the break is called a closed fracture. An open fracture is when the bone protrudes through the skin. Sometimes an open fracture is exposed but then goes back into the skin. This is still an open fracture, because the bone has been exposed to possible deep bone infection and must be treated for that possibility.

Depending on the way the bone breaks it’s called a displaced or non-displaced fracture. A displaced fracture is when the bone breaks into two or more parts and moves so the ends do not line up. A non-displaced fracture is when the bone breaks partially or completely, but stays together and aligned.

Who is at Risk for Broken Bones

A person’s broken bone risk depends partly on age. Childhood is a common time to experience broken bones.  Children’s fractures are often less complicated than fractures in adults. Bones become more brittle as a person ages. Older people are more likely to break a bone with simple falls than young people would experience from the same type of fall.

Types of Broken Bones

Greenstick fractures are partial breaks in the bone, where the bone is actually bent. This happens most often with children, as their bones have more flexibility. Transverse fractures are when the broken bone piece is straight through, horizontally in angle to the bone. When the bone breaks in a curve or sloped manner, the break is called oblique. A comminuted fracture is when the bone is broken into many pieces.  The the ends of the bone are moved towards each other, the break is called a buckle fracture, or an impacted fracture. This type of break is found more often in children. When bones are weakened from disease, the break is called a pathologic fracture. Sometimes bones break with a tiny hairline crack, and these types of breaks are called stress fractures.

Severity of the Broken Bone

Location, amount of damage done and the amount of damage done to the tissue surrounding the bone all determine the severity of the broken bone. Dangerous complications that aren’t treated correctly and immediately can lead to a more serious status of broken bone. Complications include blood vessel damage, nerve damage, infection of the bone (also called osteomyelitis) and infection of the surrounding tissue. Recovery time is different for each individual and depends on the individual’s age, health and type of fracture. Children with minor broken bones can be fully recovered in a matter of weeks. Adults with severe breaks like compound fractures and complications may take many months to heal.

If you think you have fractured a bone… visit Restore Health Urgent Care for prompt, affordable treatment.