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What are some different types of bone fractures?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Fractures may be classified as:

  1. Closed or simple fracture — the bone is broken but does not puncture the skin. 
  2. Open or compound fracture — the bone is broken and punctures the skin. The bone may or may not be visible at the punctured site.
  3. Transverse fracture — The fractured bone is at right angles to long axis of the bone.
  4. Comminuted fracture — The fracture is in three or more bone fragments.
  5. Greenstick fracture — the fracture is only on one side of the bone.

Fractures come in a number of varieties. Their treatment is based on the severity of the injury. Here's a look at the variations of bone fractures:

  • Simple fracture: This is about the cleanest injury when it comes to broken bones. The bone breaks cleanly, in one place.
  • Compound fracture. A broken bone punctures the skin.
  • Impacted fracture: An end of a fractured bone is driven into another.
  • Comminuted fracture: Part of a bone shatters into fragments.
  • Greenstick fracture: A child's bone is bent and cracked, but isn't broken.
  • Avulsion fracture: A fracture occurs after a powerful muscle contraction wrenches bone and tendon.
  • Pathological fracture: Bones, which are weakened by disease, break with little force.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.