Want to watch this video? Sign up for the course here. Or enter your email below to watch one free video.

Unlock This Video Now for FREE

This video is normally available to paying customers.
You may unlock this video for FREE. Enter your email address for instant access AND to receive ongoing updates and special discounts related to this topic.



Bones are generally strong and they have a small amount of flexibility, but eventually, they will break. The severity and type of fracture will depend on the mechanism of injury, the strength of the person's bones and the amounts of force applied. If the bone's fracture and are forced through the skin, this is called an open or a compound fracture and this is serious because there can be excessive bleeding and a high risk of infection. There are many different types of fractures and many names for similar fractures. We will now look at some of these.

Transverse fractures are where the bone is fractured in a straight line across the bone. Stable fractures are where the broken ends of the bone line up and they are barely out of place. A complicated fracture is one where there is an injury to other parts of the body such as major blood vessels and nerves. A fracture-dislocation occurs when a joint becomes dislocated and there is also a fracture on one of the bones of the joint. Greenstick fractures are partial fractures. The bone bends and breaks, but does not separate into two parts. A spiral fracture is where the break spirals around a bone, commonly in the long bones of the body. Compression fractures are where the bone is crushed and the bone will be wider and flatter than before the injury. The most common areas for this are the spine.

Stress fractures are also called hairline fractures and are often difficult to diagnose by standard X-rays. Impact fractures are where the broken bone ends are driven together by the force of the impact. Oblique fractures are when the fracture is diagonal across the bone and is common in long bones. A comminuted fracture is where the bone is broken into three or more pieces with bone fragments at the break. An avulsion fracture occurs when a piece of bone is pulled away by a tendon or ligament. The final type we will look at is segmental fractures which are common in long bones like the legs or where the bone is fractured into two places leaving a floating segment of bone between the two breaks. It is not essential as a first aider to know exactly what the fracture name is because the treatment is generally the same.