What is a fracture?

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.

What is the difference between a fractured bone and broken bone?

When it comes to injury to the bone, there is no difference. A fractured bone and a broken bone are the same thing.

Fractures are classified as either an open fracture or a closed fracture. An open fracture, also known as a compound fracture, is when the broken bone is exposed through the skin, either by a deep wound or by the bone poking through. A closed fracture, also known as a simple fracture, is when the bone is broken but the surrounding skin is intact.

Why is a fracture important in healthcare?

Fractures are important in healthcare because they often require extensive medical care. Patients who have fractures will require several diagnostic tests, medicines, casts or splints, traction, surgery, and therapies until they are fully healed. These services can become costly depending on the patient’s health insurance plan.

Fractures can also create internal bleeding and infections, which can create long-term damage or threaten the life of the patient. Immediate medical care is necessary to avoid or control instances of bleeding and infection caused by fractures.