• Rheumatology and orthopedics
  • Clinicals

Types of fractures

  • 3 minutes, 30 seconds
  • Rheumatology and orthopedics
  • 2021-08-13

Estimated read time is 3 minutes, 30 seconds

Article Details

A fracture is defined as a break in the normal continuity of the structure of bone

It can be partial or complete

A medical condition where the bone is either cracked or broken

Traumatic injuries account for the majority of fractures

Causes of fractures

Direct force- the force is applied directly to the bone

Indirect force –the force is transmitted along with other parts of the body

Muscular violence –violent contraction of muscles in order to avoid falling e.g. quadriceps causing fractured patella

Muscle fatigue –deprives the bones of necessary support

Pathological – due to disuse of muscles leading to atrophy, bone demineralizing diseases or local disease

classification of fractures

5 factors are taken into account when fractures are classified.

1. The name of the bone
2. The location on the bone
3. The type of fracture
4. The group/ shape (Like a spiral fracture)
5. The subgroups, which looks at factors like the displacement or if there is shortening

Classification can also either be orthopedics or anatomical

Anatomical classification

Anatomical classification is based on the body part affected.



Anatomical classification-according to fracture specification

Comminuted fracture:
The bone is broken into more than two fragments.


Stellate fracture:
Fracture lines run in various directions from one point e .g. fracture of flat bones of the skull and the patella.


Impacted fracture:
This is a fracture where a vertical force drives the distal fragment of the fracture into the proximal fragment.


Depressed fracture:
This fracture occurs in the skull where a segment of bone gets depressed into the cranium


Avulsion fracture:
This is one, where a chip of bone is separated by the sudden and unexpected contraction of a powerful muscle from its point of insertion e.g.

1. The supra spinatus muscle avulsing the greater tuberosity of the humerus.
2. Avulsion fracture of the tibial tuberosity


Orthopedic classification

Communication with the external environment

Closed (simple) - fracture hematoma does not communicate with the outside.


Open ( compound) - fracture hematoma communicates with the outside through an open wound.

Types of fractures

Complete fracture –periosteum is tone separating the two bone fragments


Incomplete fracture - Continuity of the bone is not completely disrupted e.g. greenstick fractures in children