A fracture is a full or partial break in the continuity of bone. There are several different ways in which a bone can fracture. For example, a closed fracture is a break to the bone that does not damage surrounding tissue or tear through the skin. By contrast, a compound fracture is one that damages surrounding tissue and penetrates the skin. Compound fractures are generally more serious than simple fractures due to the risk of infection.
Symptoms of a fracture vary depending on its location, a person’s age and general health, and the severity of the injury.
However, people with a bone fracture will typically experience some of the following:
- Discolored skin around the affected area
- Inability to put weight on the injured area
- Inability to move the affected area
- A grating sensation in the affected bone or joint
- Bleeding if it is an open fracture
Healthy bones are extremely resilient and can withstand surprisingly powerful impacts. However, under enough force, they may crack or break.
Physical trauma, overuse, and health conditions that weaken the bones, such as osteoporosis, are the leading causes of bone fractures.