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There are several incidences and scenarios that could lead to someone breaking a bone. From accident falls to injuries sustained during participation in sporting activities to being struck by an object, people can experience bone breakage in different ways.

What really happens when you break a bone

According to a body of research conducted in the US, more than 775,000 children and adolescents ages 14 and younger are treated in hospitals emergency rooms for sport-related injuries each year with most of the injuries occurring as a result of falls, being struck by an object and collisions (Stanford’s Children Hospital). A similar research carried out in Australia also reports fractured bones as the most common injuries associated with individuals hospitalized after engaging in sporting/recreational activities.

Furthermore, there are also certain types of diseases such as cancer that could also lead to bone breakage and such diseases are known to make the bones of people living with them weaker and more fragile.

Types of Broken Bone

Naturally, bones are designed to take in/grasp pressure when in an accident or when you fall. Although bones are really strong, there is a limit to the amount of pressure they can absorb – of which if exceeded results in or can lead to the bone breaking. To simply put, a bone breaks when excessive pressure or force impacts on the bone. 

There are different types of bone breakage/fracture. Some of them include:

  1. Compound Fracture: This is when a piece of bone sticks out or pierces through the surface of the skin as a result of the force/impact from the injury.
  2. Closed fracture: This is when the bone breaks without it protruding through the skin or having any impact on the skin.
  3. Spiral Fracture: Also referred to as a torsion fracture, it is a type of fracture that happens due to a rotational or twisting force.
  4. Compressed Fracture: This is a type of fracture in the spine that is usually caused by osteoporosis. A compressed fracture is said to have occurred when a vertebral bone in the spine decreases by 15 to 20% in height as a result of fracture.
  5. Stress Fracture: Just as the name implies, a stress fracture is usually caused by fatigue and/or repeated levels of stress over a period of time which can result into the bone breaking.    

Signs of A Broken Bone

Some of the common signs of a broken bone/fracture include:

  1. Pain in the bone or surrounding area.
  2. Swelling and tenderness around the injured area.
  3. Unusual bending of the bone or deformed look.
  4. The skin may appear bruised or you may experience bleeding.
  5. In some cases, the bone may penetrate through the skin.


The recommended means of dealing with any type of broken bone is to call for medical assistance or visit the nearest hospital for treatment. This is because it is quite easy for a patient with a broken bone to develop severe infections if not treated properly. In some cases, it could also lead to a life time deformity.

That said, considering responses may sometimes take a while, below are a few first aid techniques to help stabilize someone with a broken bone;

  1. Apply ice to the injured area.
  2. In a tender manner, dress the wound to help prevent bacteria.
  3. Keep the bone stable as attempting to move it may cause more harm.

References: Medical News Today http://