Fracture Care

What is a fracture?

Fractured means broken. A fracture can be complete or partial, but either way is considered a broken bone.

A bone may be completely fractured or partially fractured in any number of ways:

  • Cross-wise
  • Lengthwise
  • In the middle
  • How Fractures Happen

Fractures can happen in a variety of ways. There are three common causes:

  • Trauma is the most common fracture cause. This includes a fall or motor vehicle accident.
  • Osteoporosis is a disease resulting in the thinning of bones. The result is weakness of the bone and potential for easy fracturing.
  • Stress fractures occur from overuse. This is common among athletes.
  • Types of Fractures

Fractures come in many types.

  • Closed or simple fractures occur when the bone is broken, but the skin is not lacerated.
  • Open or compound fracture. In this type of fracture the skin may be pierced by the fractured bone.
  • Tranverse fractures are at right angles to the long axis of the bone.
  • Greenstick fracture. One side of the bone is bent due to the fracturing of the other side of the bone.
  • Comminuted fractures result in three or more bone fragments.


Treatment for fractures include casts, splits, pins, or other devices to hold the fracture in the correct place during the healing of the bone. As soon as a fracture occurs the body immediately begins to protect the injured area by forming a protective blood clot and callus. A callus is fibrous tissue. New "threads" of bone start to grow on each side of the fractured bone. These threads grow towards each other and the fracture eventually closes.