Fractures are common. Whether you call it a break, crack or fracture most of us sustain a broken bone at some time in our lives. Unlike many other medical problems fractures happen suddenly and unpredictably. Usually you need to know about fractures because, without warning, one has happened to you or one of your family. By the time you start to think about getting informed about the subject the injury has taken place and often, the treatment has started. For all that, it is very helpful to understand about how breaks happen, how bones heal and how these injuries are treated. This guide aims to explain all that and tell you what to expect as the bone heals and you get back to normal.

There is no need to tell you that broken bones hurt and go on hurting for a long time during the healing process. What we can do is explain why and what can be done to help.

Break, crack or fracture all means the same thing. One part of the bone is separated from another and the bone is liable to deform (bend, shorten, rotate or displace) if it is used normally. A "crack" implies that there is currently very little displacement of the fracture fragments but there is no other difference between the terms.

This guide will help you understand

  • what happens when a bone breaks
  • what the symptoms are
  • what can cause fractures
  • how doctors diagnose fractures
  • what the treatment options are


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