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Fracture

A fracture is a break in a bone.

Fractures can range from a hairline crack in the bone to the bone being broken into two or more pieces that no longer line up correctly. A fracture may occur at the same time as other injuries, such as sprains, strains, or dislocations.

Signs and symptoms of a fracture may include:

  • A pop or snap felt or heard at the time of the injury.
  • Pain that increases with movement or when pressure is applied to the area.
  • Swelling and bruising in the injured area.
  • Limited movement in the injured area.
  • A bend or movement in a bone where there is no joint (for example, a bend in the arm between the elbow and wrist).
  • Bone poking through the skin or visible in the wound.

A fracture and other injuries that often occur at the same time require medical attention. A health professional may set, cast, or splint a broken bone to help the bone heal. Some fractures may require surgery.

Recovery time for a fracture can vary from weeks to months depending on a person's age and health; the type, location and severity of the fracture; and whether there are other injuries that may make treatment more complicated.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kenneth J. Koval, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma
Current as of April 16, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 16, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.