What Is A Bone Fracture?

Jun 15, 2018

A fracture refers to when a bone cracks or breaks and any bone is susceptible to one. Fractures are classified as either compound (open) or simple (closed) where compound fractures comprise of clean breaks that only affect the bone, while simple fractures also impact the surrounding tissue. There are several different types of fractures and all require immediate orthopedic treatment.

Types of Bone Fractures

The most common types of fractures that are treated by our Atlanta orthopedic doctors include:

  • Transverse
  • Oblique
  • Hairline
  • Impacted
  • Spiral
  • Compression
  • Stress

Defining Each Type

  • Transverse – A break that occurs directly across a bone.
  • Oblique – A tilted or diagonal break.
  • Hairline – A partial or limited break that only impacts a minor portion of the bone. Because of how small hairline fractures are, imaging devices are often required for diagnoses.
  • Impacted – When a portion of a broken bone is pushed into another area of the bone.
  • Compression – most often found within the spine, this particular type of fracture refers to a complete breakdown of the bone.
  • Stress – A break that occurs as a result of repetitive actions that add significant stress and pressure to the bones. Mostly affects athletes.


Patients with a bone fracture often experience a combination of:

  • Inflammation
  • Deep bruises
  • Redness
  • Dull to sharp pain


Fractures typically diminish or temporarily eliminate personal mobility although results vary by each individual.

Orthopedic Treatment For Bone Fractures

Treatment is dictated by the characteristics of each patient’s fracture. Still, rest is always recommended and serves as the most critical aspect of any treatment program. Applying ice to the affected area tends to help reduce inflammation and numb any pain. Anti-inflammatory drugs and pain relievers may be prescribed to help address pain and inflammation. Most patients have their fracture immobilized for a particular length of time using a plaster cast, a sling, or crutches.

Complex fractures may require pins, screws, or nails to realign and keep the broken bone in place while it heals. Once you have fully recovered, most patients undergo physiotherapy to help restrengthen the damaged area, as well as restore mobility.

For stress fractures, patients are required to rest and refrain from any type of mild activity for up to eight weeks.

Avoiding Bone Fractures

Maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet, exercising several times each week, and consuming plenty of calcium can help reduce the odds of experiencing a bone fracture. Carrying excess weight adds a tremendous amount of pressure and stress to the joints, as well as the bones, making them more susceptible to breaks. Smoking cigarettes also influences bone loss and can prevent you from completely recovering after an accident injury occurs.


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