Bone Fractures: Types, Symptoms & Causes

What Is A Bone Fracture?

“Fracture” is a medical term that signifies a broken bone. It is ubiquitous in the United States of America, and each person has at least two of them in their lifetime.

Now the question arises, “how bone fractures are caused?”

Fractures generally occur when the force applied on the bone is stronger than the bone itself. Age is most probably one of the most significant risk factors for bone fractures. Broken bones are very prevalent in childhood, but can be treated effectively with ease. However, as you age, the recovery becomes slower and more complicated. We shall discuss more causes in the later section of the article.

What Are The Symptoms Of Bone Fractures?

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of bone fractures include:

  • Deformity of a leg or an arm
  • Bruising or swelling over the bone
  • The incapability of tolerating pain on the affected ankle, foot or leg
  • Discolouration of the skin around the affected region
  • Increased sensitivity at the affected bone or joint
  • Bleeding, in case of an open fracture

When a large bone-like pelvis and femur gets affected, it can cause the following symptoms:

  • The feeling of sickness and nausea
  • Dizziness
  • The sufferer may appear to be pale and clammy

What Causes Bone Fractures?

Most fractures are caused by an automobile accident or a bad fall. Healthy bones are potent and can withstand pressure to a certain extent.

As people age, their bones get weaker, and this increases the risk of falling. Physically active children are also susceptible to bone fractures.

People with specific ailments also have weaker bones and are at significant risk for fractures. These ailments include osteoporosis, certain infections, and tumours.

What Are The Types Of Bone Fractures?

Avulsion Fracture

In this type of fracture, an injury is caused in the region where a bone connects to a tendon or ligament. It relocates the tendon or ligament, and a small chunk of bone also gets displaced with it.

Sites For Occurrence:

Generally affects the bone in the ankle, elbow or hip

Can also affect bones in the knee, shoulder, hand or finger

Compression (Crush) Fracture

A compression fracture is the rupture or breach of the vertebrae. Vertebrae are the bones located on your back that stockpiles one over the other to form the spine. The spine is responsible for offering support to your weight, allow you to move freely, and shields the spinal cord and the nerves that run from it to the rest of the body.

Sites For Occurrence:

Generally occur in the middle portion of the spine called thoracic spine

Comminuted Fracture

A comminuted fracture refers to a condition when the bone shatters into more than two fragments. Immense pressure is required for fragmenting the bones, and so such fractures usually occur after a high impact trauma such as in automobile accidents.

Sites For Occurrence:

It generally happens in the spongy portion of the spine. For example, the vertebrae can collapse into pieces.

Also Read: Some Most Common Disorders Of Bone

Fracture Dislocation

It is a severe type of injury where fracture and dislocation take place simultaneously. The loose part of a bone may remain stuck between the dislocated bones, which needs to be eradicated with surgery.

Sites For Occurrence:

Generally occur in the fingers, hands, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles

Hairline (Stress) Fracture

A hairline fracture or stress fracture is a severe bruise or a small crack in the bone. It can happen to anyone who does a lot of physical activities, especially athletes. Osteoporosis can also cause a hairline fracture in some individuals.

They are usually caused by repetitive actions such as running long distances, jumping over and over again, etc.

Sites For Occurrence:

Generally occurs in the weight-bearing bone of the lower leg or foot

Greenstick Fracture

In this type of fracture, the stress can make the bone bend and crack, instead of fragmenting into separate pieces.

When you try to break a green branch of a tree, the similar thing happens. That’s the reason it is referred to as Greenstick Fracture. Children under the age of 10 years are highly susceptible to such fractures as their bones are comparatively softer and more flexible than adults.

Sites For Occurrence:

Generally occurs in long bones including tibia, fibula, radius, ulna, clavicle, and humerus

Impacted Fracture

In this type of fracture, one fragment of the fractured bone goes into another at the point of break. The fragments of bones may circumscribe the location of the break and the two ends forms a bulge in the bone.

Longitudinal Fracture

When the bone breaks along its axis, it is called a longitudinal fracture. This is usually used in the context of long bone fracture, however, conventional categorization of temporal bone fracture also utilized this term.

Intra Articular Fractures

In this, the break extends to the surface of the joint, which causes damage to the cartilage. Unlike an extra-articular fracture, it can develop serious long term complications like posttraumatic osteoarthritis.

Sites for Occurrence:

Generally involves the volar or dorsal lip at the end of the bone in adults. Whereas in children, epiphyseal separation can occur.

Oblique Fracture

This fracture is diagonal to the bone’s longitudinal axis. It was conventionally used to describe a fracture in the long bone. This fracture requires four to six months time to heal.

Pathological Fracture

Pathology implies a correlation with a disease or ailment

And fracture means breaking of a bone

So, these fractures are caused due to a disease rather than an injury. Certain ailments weaken the bones making them susceptible to break. Routine activities such as bending over, stepping out of a car, coughing and other activities can cause the fracture of a weakened bone.

Spiral Fracture

Spiral fracture is caused when a rotational force or torque is exerted along the axis of a bone. It often occurs when the body is moving, while one of the edges are established. Spiral fractures are pretty serious and have a risk of complications.

Sites For Occurrence

Generally occurs in the long bones such as the tibia

Transverse Fracture

This is a specific type of fracture where the break happens at a right angle to the long axis of the bone. The transverse fracture can be caused due to sudden bending or twisting or by automobile accidents. If you have this fracture, contact an orthopaedic trauma surgeon without any delay.

Torus (Buckle) Fracture

Torus fractures are more common in small children. It is an incomplete type of fracture, the affected bone only deforms and not breaks.

Sites For Occurrence:

Usually occurs at tibia or distal radius followed by a fall on the outstretched arm


Tags: What Are The 7 Types Of Fractures, Classification Of Fracture, Bone Fracture Symptoms, Causes Of Fracture

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Janet Fudge

Janet Fudge writes on general health topics for She holds a post-graduate diploma in Public Health with a major in epidemiology. During the outbreak of COVID-19, Janet actively volunteered in vaccination drives throughout the state of Iowa. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two children.