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Broken Bones vs. Simple Fracture

A fracture is the medical term for a broken bone. Fractures are common; the average person has two during a lifetime, according to

They occur when the physical force exerted on the bone is stronger than the bone itself. There are many types of fractures, but the main categories are displaced, non-displaced, open, and closed. The bone may not break at all, but merely bend, as is the case with greenstick fractures (which are more common in kids). Displaced and non-displaced fractures refer to the way the bone breaks. In a displaced fracture, the bone snaps into two or more parts and moves so that the two ends are not lined up straight. If the bone is in many pieces, it is called a comminuted fracture. In a non-displaced fracture, the bone cracks either part or all of the way through, but does move and maintains its proper alignment. A closed fracture is when the bone breaks but there is no puncture or open wound in the skin. An open fracture is one in which the bone breaks through the skin; it may then recede back into the wound and not be visible through the skin. This is an important difference from a closed fracture because with an open fracture there is a risk of a deep bone infection. A simple fracture is a closed non displaced break, or greenstick fracture.

The most commonly broken bones are: the collarbone, arm, wrist, hip, and ankle. Symptoms of a fracture include: swelling or bruising over a bone, deformity of an arm or leg, pain in the injured area that gets worse when the area is moved or pressure is applied, loss of function in the injured area. Swelling may occur quickly, and an x-ray and proper splinting or immobilization can minimize pain and long term effects. Treatment includes rest, ice, compression provided by a splint or ace wrap, and elevation help to decrease pain and speed healing. This is often abbreviated as RICE. Ibuprofen is commonly used to decrease inflammation and relieve pain. Other pain relievers can be prescribed if needed.