Fractured or Broken: What’s the Difference and How to Tell

If you’re in pain because of a fractured or broken bone, you may not know what to do next or if you’ll be able to heal correctly. In order to take care of your health, you should have a professional check you and diagnose the issue. Here’s what you should know about bone fractures and breaks.

What is a fracture?

Many people use the term “fracture” interchangeably with the word “break.” Medically speaking, there are five different kinds of fractures: stable fracture; open, compound fracture; transverse fracture; oblique fracture; and comminuted fracture. However, in a more general sense, these classifications can be simplified down to complete or incomplete fractures. A complete fracture is when the bone is snapped into at least two parts, while an incomplete fracture is when it has cracked but hasn’t broken into two or more parts. Think of a complete fracture as a break that goes all the way through so that it separates your bone, while an incomplete fracture is a crack that doesn’t go all the way through.

What causes a fracture or break?

There are two main reasons why a fracture may occur:

  1. Overuse

If you repetitively make the same movement, like at your job or when practicing a hobby, the muscles in that part of your body can get exhausted. The more force you apply to the body part, the more likely it is that you’ll get a fracture.

  1. Trauma

When you have an accident, like getting hurt playing sports or getting hit by a car while riding your bike, it’s common for a fracture to occur.

Will I have to have surgery?

The way a fracture is treated depends on how serious the injury is. Some fractures can repair without surgery. Your doctor may suggest wearing a brace, cast or sling to limit your activity while your body is healing itself.

What types of injuries can be used in injury claims?

According to Lane and Lane, there are a number of injuries that can be used in personal injury claims, including injuries that are the result of a traffic accident, work mishap, or tripping. Assault claims and product liability (which is when a product has a defect and causes an injury) can also be part of a personal injury claim. Dental and medical accidents are also part of injury claims, and they sometimes lead to a medical negligence claim.

If you have bruising, pain or swelling, or if you’re not able to perform your regular activities, contact a doctor right a way. Other symptoms of a fracture include a numb feeling or loss of feeling in or around the injured area.


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