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When your doctor diagnoses that you have a fracture of the bone, this simply means that your bone is broken. Bones form the human frame. They are able to bear large amounts of weight. When bone is put under pressure due to force, it absorbs the shock by bending slightly and return to their original form. Bones break similarly to the way a wooden twig has a certain amount of give but breaks when bent to far.


Most people have clear warning signs of severe pain and deformity to the area when a fracture is present. However, in some cases there is only slight pain. If there is any doubt, one should seek medical attention immediately.

Type of Fractures

All Bones do not fracture in the same way. The way in which bones break will affect the treatment method used by your doctor.

- Displaced fracture

Bone ends have shifted from each other

- Comminuted fracture

Bone has broken into more than 2 fragments

- Closed fracture

Bone has been broken but does not pierce skin

- Open Fracture

Bone has broken and can be seen pierced through skin

- Stress fracture

Usually occurs in athletes where muscles get tired and are unable to absorb shock .As a result fatigued muscles transfer load to bone causing a crack.

- Pathological fracture

Occurs as a result of a medical condition such as; osteoporosis, bone cancer or osteogenesis imperfecta. These medical conditions weaken bone and make them susceptible to fractures.

- Complete fracture

Bone fragments separate completely

- Incomplete fracture

Bone is partially intact

- Impacted fracture

When bone is drawn into each other - Green stick fracture This is common in children because their bones are softer. As a result bone bends and partially breaks.


The diagnosis of fractures can be done by x-rays alone but sometimes special investigations such as Computed Tomography (CT) and bone scans may be necessary.

- Fracture reduction

In order for healing to be successful, realignment of the bone to its original position is pivotal. The doctor does this manual. It is called fracture reduction and is performed under sedation.

- Fracture Fixation

Sometimes, depending on the fracture it may be necessary to keep bones in the correct position using screws, pins and or plates. Fixation can hold bones externally where pins are driven into bone through the skin and removed once healing is successful or internally where the skin is moved aside, bone is fixed into place , incision stitched closed and after healing apparatus left in. Both fixation methods are done in surgery. Once the bones are in the correct place they can be treated with a cast, splint or traction. This ensures that bones remain aligned and limit irritation to surrounding tissue.

The Healing Process

Your bones are just as living as any other part of the body. They are natural healers. At the fracture site, bones will produce new cells and tiny blood cells that will rebuild and strengthen. Healing time is different for each individual and each bone .Your doctor will be able to give you an estimated recovery date. Smoking and consumption of alcohol will delay the healing process.


Once the fracture has been fixed and adequate continuity of bone has been restored, physical and occupational therapy is the next step. This is done on the recommendation and direction of the orthopaedic surgeon.