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Fracture Types

types of fracture broken bones

How you break your bone determines what type of fracture you get. Twisting your ankle in a hole will make a different bone break than falling from a roof. Doctors use bone geometry to describe these fracture types. Some geometries are more stable and easier to fix than others.

Fracture Types

  • Transverse fracture - meaning straight across. The two ends tend to stay together i.e. it's a stable fracture.
  • Comminuted fracture - meaning broken into many pieces. This is bad news as the fragments will find it hard to stay together on their own. This generally needs surgery using pins to hold everything together until the bone heals.
  • Displaced fracture - meaning the bone ends are no longer touching. This means they'll have to be reduced back together before healing will occur.
  • Greenstick or crush fracture - meaning the bone has not snapped, it's been stretched or crumpled like soft chalk. Great prognosis and common in kids.
  • Hairline fracture - this is a small crack in the bone from a repetitive action like running which is so tiny you may not see it on X-ray, but it hurts! This has an excellent prognosis if you give the bone a rest from repetitive injury as the damage is mild.
  • Another broad classification of fracture types is whether the fracture is 'open' or 'closed'. Open fractures mean that the the skin around the broken bone has split open. Closed fractures mean the skin is intact over the fracture. This difference is important because open fractures need antibiotic cover and may also need external fixation to heal.

MLA Citation for School Reports, Links, and Presentations:
Helpful Links:

  • Types of Fractures / Broken Bones
  • Fracture / Broken Bone Symptoms
  • Fracture / Broken Bone Fixation
  • Fracture / Broken Bone Manipulation
  • Colles Fracture
  • Plaster Cast Care
  • Itchy Cast Remedy


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    Last Updated:
    April 22 2016
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