by Robert Leach, MD
A fracture is a break in any bone in the body. There are different kinds of fractures:
Fractures may also be described as:
Fractures are caused by trauma to the bone. Trauma includes:
Trauma is a physical force applied to the bone that the bone cannot withstand. Stronger bones can withstand more physical force than weaker bones.
Fractures are more common in older adults.
Factors that increase the risk of fracture include:
Symptoms of a fracture include:
You will be asked about your symptoms and how you injured yourself. The injured area will be examined.
Images may be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:
Proper treatment can prevent long-term complications or problems. Treatment will depend on how serious the fracture is, but may include:
Extra support may be needed to protect, support, and keep the fracture in line while it heals. Supportive steps may include a splint, brace, or cast. A sling may be necessary to help stabilize the arm.
Some fractures cause pieces of bone to separate. The doctor will need to put these pieces back into their proper place. This may be done:
Children’s bones are still growing at an area of the bone called the growth plate. If the fracture affected the growth plate, a specialist may be needed. Injuries to the growth plate will need to be monitored to make sure the bone can continue to grow as expected.
Healing and Rehabilitation
Healing time ranges from three weeks for a simple finger fracture to many months for a complicated fracture of a long bone. All fractures require rehabilitation exercises to regain muscle strength and joint motion.
You can reduce your chances of getting a fracture:
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
When it Hurts to Move—Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Fractures: an overview. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available:
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Updated October 2012. Accessed August 30, 2017.
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Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM
Last Updated: 9/25/2014
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