12 Types of Bone Fractures

A bone is considered broken when there is an interruption in the continuous flow of the tissue. This usually occurs because of a direct impact from an external source but can also occur from violent muscle contractions or repetitive abnormal use.

Occasionally, a broken bone can protrude through the skin causing an open wound. This is sometimes called an open fracture. If there are multiple breaks on a single bone the term is compound fracture.

There are several types of bone fractures:

Depressed Fracture: Usually occurs in flat bones during falls e.g. skull.

Greenstick Fracture: Incomplete breaks in bones that have not completely ossified. Most common in children when their bones are still soft. One side remains intact, while the other side has cracked from the bend. The term comes from the way a green twig bends but does not completely break.

Impact Fracture: This is when a long bone e.g. the femur, receives an impact on its long axis. The bone tissue becomes compressed into itself. This injury requires traction by trained medical personnel.

Longitudinal Fracture: When a long bone breaks along its length similar to snapping a pencil in half.

Oblique Fracture: Occurs during violent twisting usually when one end is planted on the ground and the other end twists. Sometimes this is also called a spiral fracture.

Serrated Fracture: When the two ends of a broken bone are rubbing against each other. This usually causes severe damage to blood vessels and nerves caught between the two broken ends.

Transverse Fracture: This is a fracture that occurs in a straight line along a long bone.

Comminuted Fracture: This is when there are 3 or more fragments at the fracture site. Usually surgical intervention is required.

Contrecoup Fracture: An injury on the side opposite to the impacted area. Very common with head injuries.

Blowout Fracture: An injury to the wall of the eye orbit caused by a blow to the eye.

Avulsion Fracture: When a ligament pulls so hard on the part of the bone it is attached to that a small bone fragment breaks off.

Stress Fracture: Usually happens with repeated stress, overuse, improper use, or returning to play before an injury has fully healed.

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2 Comments

  1. I agree with Ms. Lisa here. Anything Longitudinal would be would be vertical. Just like longitude lines on a map.

  2. I disagree with your definitions of longitudinal and transverse fractures. It is correct that longitudinal fractures are fractures along the length (axis) of a bone, especially a long bone, but it is not like snapping a pencil in half. That is how you would describe a transverse fracture like so: |-|. A longitudinal fracture would be like splitting a pencil in half so the whole shaft of the pencil is exposed, like so: |l|.

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