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June 20, 2018  |  Login
Bone Fracture
by James F. Balch, M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.D.

A bad fall, a hard blow, an automobile collision, a sports injury, or an underlying ­ medical condition such as osteoporosis can result in a broken bone.

When a bone breaks, it triggers not only pain, swelling, bruising, and immobility but also trauma and shock throughout the entire body. Fractures located near joints are sometimes misidentified as simply bad sprains.

There are varying degrees of fractures. Here are definitions and causes for the main types of fractures:

  1. Partial (incomplete): The break across the bone is incomplete.

  2. Complete: The bone is broken in two pieces.

  3. Closed (simple): The broken bone does not protrude through the skin.

  4. Open (compound): The broken bone protrudes through the skin.

  5. Comminuted: The bone is splintered at the broken area and many smaller fragments of bone are found between the two main pieces.

  6. Greenstick: This occurs only in children and is defined by having one side of the bone break and the other side just bend, often seen on the radius (forearm bone).

  7. Spiral: A breaking force twisted the bone apart.

  8. Transverse: This occurs at right angles to the bone.

  9. Impacted: One fragment is forcibly driven into the other.

  10. Colles': This is a fracture of the distal end of the radius (wrist), and the fragment is displaced posteriorly (behind).

  11. Pott's: This is a fracture of the distal (lower portion of leg) end of the fibula, with serious injury of the distal tibia articulation.

  12. Nondisplaced: The correct anatomical alignment of the bone is maintained.

  13. Displaced: The correct anatomical alignment of the bone is not maintained.

  14. Stress: This is a partial fracture, resulting from the inability of the bone to withstand repeated stresses (such as doing aerobics on hard surfaces or running long distances for prolonged periods of time). Almost one-fourth of stress fractures occur in the fibula.

  15. Pathologic: This fracture is a result of normal stress on a weakened bone. It occurs in such diseases as osteoporosis, neoplasia, osteomyelitis, and osteomalacia. more
Next: What are the Symptoms of a Bone Fracture

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