The Different Types of Fractures

When you have a fracture, you have a broken bone. While this may seem straightforward, the fact is, not all breaks are created equal. They can vary in severity from a hairline crack to a break that shatters in multiple pieces. 

Thomas F. Saylor, MD, at Orthopaedic Care Specialists in North Palm Beach, Florida, specializes in diagnosing and treating fractures. In this blog, he explains the most common fractures and why they require specific treatment.

The origin of a break

Your bones are strong, which creates rigidity in your body. However, your bones also have some flexibility, so they can flex or “give” slightly under pressure. But, if they’re put under too much strain, they can break. Think of it like bending a plastic ruler. It will bend to a certain point, but it will finally snap if it goes past the breaking point.

The severity of a fracture is usually related to the amount of pressure that caused it. For example, if a bone is put under minor pressure, it may sustain a crack. But, if it’s put under extreme strain, it may shatter.

The most common causes of fractures include:

Depending on what causes a fracture, it may not be obvious that a break has occurred.

Types of fractures

Some fractures are easier to detect than others, because you can see the broken bone or a visual deformity in the affected area. Fractures can also vary with age, because the body may not be able to withstand as much force when it gets older. 

Dr. Saylor treats all types of fractures, but he sees these the most:


A greenstick fracture describes a partial break on one side of a bone. These injuries are most common in children, because they often have softer, more elastic bones than adults. This flexibility causes the rest of the bone to bend instead of break.

Stress or hairline

These fractures describe partial breaks in the bone, which can be more difficult to detect. Dr. Saylor often sees these fractures in athletes and people with osteoporosis.


A stable fracture means you have a broken bone that still lines up almost perfectly.


When you have a transverse fracture, the break goes straight across your bone in a horizontal line.


Oblique fractures are breaks that penetrate the bone at an angle.


These breaks occur in response to a twisting injury, leading to spiral fractures around the affected bone.


This kind of fracture describes a break in which there are three or more pieces, and they remain in the injury site. 

Open or compound

When you have a broken bone that involves pierced skin, you have an open or compound fracture.

Treating fractures

With so many types of breaks, it’s essential to receive an accurate diagnosis to determine the best treatment strategy.

Treating a fracture requires encouraging the bones to heal properly to support optimal function. Depending on your fracture, Dr. Saylor could recommend a variety of treatments. For example, some fractures can get repositioned with hands-on pressure, while others may require surgery.

If you need surgery, Dr. Saylor specializes in minimally invasive techniques, which allow him to repair complex injuries with small incisions. This option comes with fewer risks and faster recovery times than traditional, open surgeries, which use large incisions.

To learn more about fractures and treatment options, book an appointment online or over the phone with Orthopaedic Care Specialists today.

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