Learn About Ailments | Fractures


Fractures occur when a bone is cracked or splintered, usually as a result of physical trauma. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, bruising, and limited motion of the broken bone.

In This Article
Did you know? Causes of fractures
Symptoms of fractures Diagnosis of fractures
Related terms

  • Around 3% of falls by the elderly result in a hip fracture
  • Approximately 1.6 million hip fractures occur worldwide each year
  • Children aged 10-14 years-old are the highest risk group for fractures
  • 50% of women with osteoporosis will suffer a fracture

A broken bone or cracked bone is known as a fracture and can occur anywhere in the body. Bones can fracture in a variety of ways. A simple fracture is a clean break that doesn't penetrate the skin or damage surrounding tissue while a compound fracture breaks the skin and damages the soft tissue around the bone.

A healthy bone is able to withstand strong forces but when those forces become to much a bone can fracture. Typically, fractures are as a result of physical trauma from a fall or blow.

The developing body of a child is often prone to fractures because the bones are still soft and the child is more likely to fall and hurt themselves. As the body ages, bones get weaker and elderly people lose mobility which leads to falls that result in fractures (especially to the forearms and hips).

A bone weakened by disease, such as osteoporosis, or an infection, cyst or tumour can cause a pathological fracture. Stress fractures result from repetitive stress and strain from sports or workplace activity.

Symptoms can depend on the type and severity of the fracture but generally include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling around the affected area
  • Bruising
  • Skin discolouration
  • An unusual angle of the affected limb
  • Loss of mobility in the limb
  • Inability to weight-bear on the limb
  • Grinding, grating or popping noises in the bone
  • Bleeding (in compound fractures)

When a fracture occurs the person may also feel faint, nauseous or look pale.

If you suspect a fracture then it is important to seek medical help immediately. A diagnosis will be made by physical examination and X-ray. It may also be necessary to have an MRI or CT scan if the fracture requires closer inspection.

Broken bones
Transverse fracture
Oblique fracture
Greenstick fracture
Broken arm
Broken leg
Steel pins

Therapies to consider
Acupressure Craniosacral Therapy Deep Tissue Massage
Hawaiian Massage Holistic Massage Massage
Osteopathy Physiotherapy Podiatry (Chiropody)
Shiatsu Sports Massage Yoga


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