Fractures are commonly categorised as open (compound) or closed (simple); an open fracture is a clean break where only the bone is affected, while a closed fracture also affects the tissue and skin around the bone. There are several different types of fracture; the most common types of fracture include transverse, oblique, hairline, impacted, spiral, compression and stress fractures:
- Transverse: a fracture straight across a bone.
- Oblique: a tilted or diagonal fracture.
- Hairline: this is a partial break and often affects only a small portion of the bone; these can be difficult to identify.
- Impacted: this involves the fractured portion of bone being forced into another section of bone.
- Spiral: this affects the area surrounding the bone.
- Compression: this is a complete breakdown of the bone; it is most common in the spine.
- Stress Fracture: this is a fracture brought about by repeated actions which increase pressure on the bones; these are most common in athletes.
Common fractures in sport
Symptoms of fractures
Treating a fracture
More complex fractures may require realignment which may involve using pins, wires or nails; these will help to fix the bone back in its original place. Once the healing process is nearly complete, a course of physiotherapy will usually be recommended; this will help to strengthen the area and improve flexibility and movement. Stress fractures require a long period of rest, which may last up to 8 weeks; this will enable the bone to heal and prevent further damage.