What are the Differences Between a Fracture and a Broken Bone?

December 1, 2022
3 Min Read
What are the Differences Between a Fracture and a Broken Bone?

You may have heard folks discuss bone breakage and fractures. Both phrases refer to a bone that has been broken, frequently by using excessive force. The term "fracture" may be more frequently used by your doctor.

Although most bone fractures are not life-threatening, they nonetheless require prompt medical attention.

The Reasons for a Bone Fracture

Bone fractures are frequent. Over 1 million people in the US suffer a bone fracture each year.

When a bone is struck by something more powerful than the bone itself, a fracture results. It snaps as a result of this. Fractures can result from falls, sports injuries, and auto accidents.

Small fractures can also result from repeated bone wear, such as jogging. Stress fractures or hairline fractures are the terms used for them.

Sometimes cancer or an infection that weakens the bone causes fractures. Osteoporosis, or weak bones in older adults, is another common factor in fractures.

Depending on the power of the hit and whether the body has sustained additional injuries, fractures can range in severity from moderate to severe. Additional sorts of harm that might happen include:

  • skin rips and tears
  • nerve injury
  • muscular harm
  • organ injury

Fracture VS Broken Bone

A broken bone is a break, regardless of whether it is a fracture. Any loss of bone continuity is referred to as a fracture. Any time the bone loses its structural integrity, whether it manifests as a hairline crack that is barely visible on an X-ray or as the bone breaking into a dozen pieces, it is referred to as a fracture.

A fractured bone is the opposite of a shattered bone.

Would you correct someone if they inquired about the age of a cracked windshield of your car? Would you say that it only has a fracture and is not broken? Most likely not. You would likely mention the rock that caused the damage to the roadway. We all frequently confuse the phrases "fracture" and "break." In the medical area, it is not any different.

Symptoms of a Fracture

Pain is the primary indicator of a fracture. The majority of fractures cause pain, particularly when you move or place weight on the fractured bone.

Among the other signs at the injury site are:

  • Swelling
  • Loss of sensation
  • Bleeding
  • Bruising or a color shift
  • Bone protruding from the skin

If you think you may have a fracture, you should visit the emergency department. Call an ambulance if you or someone else has several wounds or cannot walk.

How are fractures identified?

Your doctor will examine you and inspect the injury site for mobility as well as potential blood vessel or joint damage. An X-ray of the damaged bone is used to diagnose the majority of fractures.

In some cases, further examinations beyond X-rays may be required to assess the severity of the fracture and accompanying damage.


The kind, location, and severity of an injury determine the course of therapy for a fracture.

Bones self-heal by generating fresh bone tissue to patch up the break. To "stitch" the fractured parts back together, new bone tissue grows around the borders of the fracture. Since the new bone is first to tender, it must be safeguarded.

A fracture is often immobilized to save the newly formed, delicate bone tissue. Your doctor may use one of the following techniques to immobilize the bone:

  • Cast
  • Splint
  • Sling
  • Combination

Healing Time

Fractures usually recover in six to eight weeks. In general, children recover more quickly than adults.

The length of time it takes for a break to mend varies on its location and degree. Your recuperation time will also be influenced by your age and overall health. To hasten the healing of the fracture, adhere to your doctor's instructions for care.

Contact Us

Our doctors at BASS Medical Group treat a wide range of patients, including break or fracture victims who are performers, sports, dancers, musicians, and artists of various ages and skill levels. They are board qualified in sports medicine, and some of them also have board credentials in orthopedic surgery or internal medicine.  Don’t let yourself sit in pain any longer! Contact us today if you have a broken bone or suspect you have a bone fracture.