Even though bones have amazing healing powers, various complications sometimes occur with fractures, depending on the person's age, the bone and the severity of the break.
Children are susceptible to various kinds of fractures, but their bones typically heal faster and more completely than their adult counterparts.
Infection is a threat with any compound fracture because a break in the skin gives germs an opportunity to enter. Broken ribs may pierce internal organs. The healing process itself can also inadvertently harm other tissues and organs.
In compartment syndrome, oxygen can't enter a fracture's injured muscle because the tissue has swelled so tightly. If oxygen is insufficient, the muscle tissue can keep swelling until the tissue is injured and dies.
Pulmonary embolism results when a fracture's blood clotting breaks loose and then blocks a lung artery. This condition, particularly common with hip and pelvis fractures, accounts for about one-third of hip-fracture deaths.