Understanding The Type of Fractures You Have

Written By: John McLeish

A “fracture” is the medical term used to describe a broken bone. It encompasses several different types of bone breaks, including:

  • Simple fractures
    • Broken bones that have no protruded through the skin.
  • Compound fractures
    • Broken bones that have penetrated the skin.

Once the fracture has been classified as simple or compound, various factors (including the alignment of the bone) can be used to further describe the type of fracture that has been experienced. It is important to remember that this is generalized information, and you should always seek medical attention in order to receive the proper treatment that is needed.


1. Displaced fractures

Displaced fractures occur when the bone snaps into two or more pieces. Additionally, the ends will no longer line up straight. If the break is split into more than two pieces, it is referred to as a comminute fracture.

2. Non-displaced fractures

With a non-displaced fracture, the bone cracks or breaks all the way through, but the alignment is not affected.

3. Closed fracture

A closed fracture occurs when the bone breaks, but does not puncture the skin.

4. Open fracture

In an open fracture, the broken bone protrudes through the skin. It may recede back into the wound, and isn’t always visible after the accident. This type of injury is particularly serious because of the risk of infection to the wound created.


Bone fractures can also be further categorized by the pattern and angle of the break:

1. Traverse fracture

The bone is broken horizontally, at a right angle to the long axis of the bone.

2. Oblique fracture

The bone is broken at a slanted angle.

3. Spiral fracture

With a spiral fracture, the break is similar to that of an oblique fracture, with one major difference. The bone isn’t only broken, but the pieces are also twisted.

4. Greenstick fracture

This kind of fracture generally occurs in children, as their bones are still developing and thus are more flexible than those of an adult. With a greenstick fracture, the bone bends, which causes it to only break partially on one side, as opposed to completely.

5. Avulsion fracture

This kind of fracture occurs when a small piece is torn off the bone, as a result of extreme force. These can occur from an overexertion or sudden intense pulling of the body part during an accident.

6. Impacted fracture

With an impacted fracture, the ends of the break are driven into each other.

John McLeish


Book a FREE Consultation

To start your free consultation, fill out the form below.

Free Consultation Form