What is bone fractures?

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Fracture

A fracture is a break in a bone.

Fractures can range from a hairline crack in the bone to the bone being broken into two or more pieces that no longer line up correctly. A fracture may occur at the same time as other injuries, such as sprains, strains, or dislocations.

Signs and symptoms of a fracture may include:

  • A pop or snap felt or heard at the time of the injury.
  • Pain that increases with movement or when pressure is applied to the area.
  • Swelling and bruising in the injured area.
  • Limited movement in the injured area.
  • A bend or movement in a bone where there is no joint (for example, a bend in the arm between the elbow and wrist).
  • Bone poking through the skin or visible in the wound.

A fracture and other injuries that often occur at the same time require medical attention. A health professional may set, cast, or splint a broken bone to help the bone heal. Some fractures may require surgery.

Recovery time for a fracture can vary from weeks to months depending on a person's age and health; the type, location and severity of the fracture; and whether there are other injuries that may make treatment more complicated.

Possible fracture: When to call

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have problems with your splint. For example:
    • The skin under the splint is burning or stinging.
    • The splint feels too tight.
    • There is a lot of swelling near the splint. (Some swelling is normal.)
    • You have a new fever.
    • There is drainage or a bad smell coming from the splint.
  • You cannot move the injured area.
  • You have new or worse pain in the injured area.
  • You have tingling, weakness, or numbness in the injured area.
  • The injured area turns cold or changes color.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You are having problems with your splint.
  • You do not get better as expected.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.