There are many different types of fractures. The main types, however, are complete, incomplete, simple and compound. Each of these types of fractures has some similarities yet is quite different. When describing the difference between the complete and incomplete, they are referring to how the bone broke. In complete fractures, the bone breaks completely, sometimes in more than one place. In incomplete fractures, the bone may break or crack, but it does not break completely. A similarity may be a dish in your kitchen. An incomplete break might be if the dish is chipped whereas a complete break would be if the dish fell to the floor and broke in pieces.
One of the other types of fractures, compound fractures, is also-called an open fracture. They are called open fractures because they are literally open to the outside air. In open fractures, the bone will break through the skin. It may stay there until treatment or may recede back into the wound so you won’t be able to see it through the skin. A compound fracture is one you might see in a serious automobile accident. This is a serious type of fracture because the bone is exposed and susceptible to contamination. Open fractures put the patient at risk of infection. They need antibiotic treatment to prevent infection and need surgery, usually immediate surgery to clean out the wound and repair the bone. Cleaning the wound involves getting rid of all the dead tissue and dirt to prevent any further contamination. Of all the types of fractures, the compound fractures are probably the most serious.
Simple types of fractures are also-called closed fractures. In simple fractures, although the bone may break, it does not pop through the skin, which is why it’s called closed. Simple fractures can also be broke down further into small groups. Some different simple fractures are greenstick fractures, transverse fractions, oblique fractions, comminuted fracture, pathologic fractures, stress fractures and impacted fractures.
Greenstick fractures are incomplete fractures where the bone is merely bent. These types of fractures are most often seen in children. Transverse fractures are when the bone is broke at a right angle to the axis of the bone, whereas if the break goes at a slope, it is an oblique fracture. Comminuted fractures are bone fractures where the bone breaks or shatters into many pieces. When the ends of the bones drive into each other, you have an impacted fracture. They are also referred to as buckle fractures. Like greenstick fractures, impacted fractures are often seen as arm fractures in children. Pathologic fractures are fractures that are caused by a disease that will weaken the bones, making them more susceptible to breaks. Some diseases that may cause pathologic fractures are osteoporosis or cancer. Stress fractures are the type of fractures athletes may experience from repeated wear and tear on the bones from a lot of activity.