Fractured means broken. Whether you have a complete or a partial fracture, you have a broken bone. A bone may be completely fractured or partially fractured in any number of ways (cross-wise, lengthwise, in the middle).
Fractures can happen in a variety of ways, but there are three common causes:
- Trauma accounts for most fractures. For example, a fall, a motor vehicle accident or a tackle during a football game can all result in a fracture.
- Osteoporosis also can contribute to fractures. Osteoporosis is a bone disease that results in the “thinning” of the bone. The bones become fragile and easily broken.
- Overuse sometimes results in stress fractures. These are common among athletes.
Usually, you will know immediately if you have broken a bone. You may hear a snap or cracking sound. The area around the fracture will be tender and swollen. A limb may be deformed, or a part of the bone may puncture through the skin.
Doctors usually use an X-ray to verify the diagnosis. Stress fractures are more difficult to diagnose, because they may not immediately appear on an X-ray; however, there may be pain, tenderness and mild swelling.