A fracture is a break in any bone in the body. There are different kinds of fracture:

  • The bone may be fractured but stable, which is known as a simple fracture or a closed fracture.
  • Bone fragments may be sticking through the skin, which is known as a compound fracture or an open fracture.

Fractures may also be described as:

  • Chip (avulsion fracture)—A small piece of bone is broken away from the main bone and usually attached to a ligament or tendon.
  • Compression—The bone is compressed together, such as vertebrae.
  • Comminuted—The bone is in pieces.
  • Greenstick—One side of the bone is broken and the other side is bent but not broken.
  • Intra-articular—The joint is affected.
  • Growth plate fracture —A child's developing tissue is fractured.
  • Transverse—The bone is broken in a horizontal line that is perpendicular to the surface of the bone cortex.
  • Oblique—The bone is broken in a line that is less than a 90° angle to the surface of the bone cortex.
  • Spiral—The line of the fracture forms a spiral.
  • Stress—A thin fracture line occurs due to overuse rather than a single traumatic incident.

The Bones of the Body
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Fractures are caused by trauma to the bone. Trauma includes:

  • Falls
  • Twists
  • Blows
  • Collisions

Trauma is a physical force applied to the bone that the bone cannot withstand. Stronger bones can withstand more physical force than weaker bones.