Figure 1-3. Examples of fractures.
COMMON CAUSES OF FRACTURES
Fractures may be caused by a direct blow to the body (such as being hit by a
vehicle) or by indirect force that results in a fracture away from the point of impact (such
as a hip fracture resulting from a person landing on his knee after a hard fall). A
fracture can also result from a limb being twisted (fracture and dislocation may result) or
from powerful muscle contractions (such as may occur during a seizure). Fatigue
(stress) fractures can result by repeated stress, such as a stress fracture of the foot
during a long march. Certain diseases, such as cancer, can weaken bones and make
them easier to break. High-energy impacts, such as being hit by a speeding vehicle or
by a bullet, may produce multiple fractures and cause severe damage to surrounding
TYPES OF FRACTURES
A fracture may be displaced (bone moved out of normal alignment) or
nondisplaced (bone remains in normal alignment). A nondisplaced fracture may be
difficult to identify without an x-ray. Therefore, anytime you suspect that a fracture may
be present, treat the injury as though you knew the fracture existed. Some types of
fractures are briefly described in the following paragraphs.
a. Greenstick. A greenstick fracture is an incomplete fracture in which one side
of the bone is broken and the bone is bent.
b. Comminuted. A comminuted fracture is one in which the bone is crushed or
splintered into many pieces.