A fracture is a break in any bone in the body. Fractures are usually caused by trauma, such as falls, twists, blows, or collisions. There are different kinds of fracture:
- The bone may be fractured but stable (simple fracture).
- Bone fragments may be sticking through the skin (open).
Fractures may also be described as:
- Chip (avulsion fracture)—A small piece of bone is broken away from the main bone.
- 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.
- 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
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Last reviewedSeptember 2012by John C. Keel, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.