What are some different types of bone fractures?

There are several different types of bone fractures, all of which require individualized treatment that also takes into account the health of the patient and the affected bone(s). Before diving into the vast world of bone fractures, it might be helpful to know that the terms "fracture" and "break" mean the same thing. Both involve some sort of damage to the bone that caused it to crack or break; "Rest" is a layman's term that is not widely used by medical professionals.

Bone fractures fall into several basic categories. They are closed, meaning the skin is intact, or open, in which case the skin at the site has been damaged in some way. Open fractures are potentially more dangerous as they can become infected, especially when substances are introduced into the wound. Fractures are also classified as simple, involving a line of injury, or multifragmentary, characterized by a split or fissure in multiple directions. As you can imagine, a simple fracture is classically easier to treat.

Once the basic features of a fracture have been identified, the doctor can focus on the type of fracture. A classic fracture where the bone literally breaks in half is called a complete fracture, while a less serious fracture where only part of the bone breaks is called a greenstick fracture. In a compact fracture, the bone fragments are pushed together, while a compression fracture is caused by gradual, long-term compression of the spine.

When a bone breaks along the long side, it is known as a linear fracture. Bone fractures that run perpendicular to the long end of the bone are called transverse fractures. An oblique fracture runs along the diagonal, while a spiral fracture is caused by the bone twisting, causing a characteristic spiral pattern at the site.

Bone fractures are usually caused by trauma, such as a blunt blow or fall. Fractures can also occur spontaneously in people with fragile bones; the elderly, for example, can suffer fractures after a small fall because their bones have become brittle. In all cases, the best prognosis for a fracture requires prompt medical treatment to align the bones, clean the wound, and fix the bones, immobilizing them so they have a chance to heal.

Go up

This website uses third-party cookies