A fracture, which is the partial or complete breaking of a bone, happens when a bone is under more pressure than it can withstand. Such pressure can be caused by blows, kicks, falls, accidents, or the repetitive use of muscles surrounding the bone as is often the case with athletes.
People may also have fractures because of long-term conditions such as bone cancer and osteoporosis which weaken the bones and make them more prone to fractures.
Fractures may cause patients to experience pain, bruising, swelling, and difficulty using the area of their body that is injured. Treatment of fractures includes immobilizing the area with a splint or a cast, traction to realign the bone, medicine to manage the pain, and in some instances, surgery.
To diagnose a fracture, doctors will typically use X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or a computed tomography (CT) scan to take images of the body’s bones, tissues, organs, and fat to determine the extent of the injury.