A bone fracture, commonly called a broken bone, is a painful injury that can require weeks or months to heal. There are many different types and severities of bone fractures, from a minor hairline fracture to a full break. While most people think of a “broken bone” as being a more severe injury than a fracture, these terms actually refer to the same injury. If you believe that you may have a fractured or broken bone, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Acute vs. Chronic Bone Fractures
Typically, broken bones are divided into two different types: acute fractures and chronic fractures. An acute break occurs when a bone is fractured by a one-time force, such as a car accident or a fall. However, the severity of the break can vary from person to person. A person with strong bones could fall and experience only a small hairline fracture, while someone with brittle bones could experience the same fall and have a much more serious break.
Chronic bone fractures, on the other hand, occur when a bone is exposed to low-energy forces for a long period of time. These are also more commonly referred to as stress fractures. Sports activities and other work that requires repetitive motions often lead to chronic bone fractures. Some examples of activities that could lead to a stress fracture include:
- Pitching or throwing
- Rapidly switching directions
If you or someone you know has a fractured bone or is experiencing bone pain that may be a fracture, be sure to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. A fracture that is left untreated could heal improperly, causing pain and possibly limiting your range of motion permanently.