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Types of Fractures

A fracture is a partial or complete break in the bone. When a fracture occurs, it is classified as either open or closed:

  • open fracture (Also called compound fracture.) - the bone exits and is visible through the skin, or a deep wound that exposes the bone through the skin.
  • closed fracture (Also called simple fracture.) - the bone is broken, but the skin is intact.

Fractures have a variety of names. Below is a listing of the common types that may occur:

  • greenstick - incomplete fracture. The broken bone is not completely separated.
Illustration of greenstick fracture
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  • transverse - the break is in a straight line across the bone.
Illustration of transverse fracture
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  • spiral - the break spirals around the bone; common in a twisting injury.
Illustration of spiral fracture
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  • oblique - diagonal break across the bone.
Illustration of oblique fracture
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  • compression - the bone is crushed, causing the broken bone to be wider or flatter in appearance.
Illustration of a compression fracture
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