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What fracture have you suffered?

We believe that you should know exactly what's going on when you've been injured. That's why we've taken the time to explain what your fracture means to you. We're committed to make the process of finding out if you can claim and starting your claim as simple and as jargon free as possible.

If you'd like to speak to us now about your injury you can contact us for free on . Or you can continue reading to find out more about your fracture.

Simple fracture

A simple fracture is a broken bone that occurs without damaging anything else around the bone. This means the broken bone didn't pierce the skin leaving a wound, or damage any tendons or ligaments, which makes it a "clean break".

Simple fractures can also be referred to as closed fractures, because the damage isn't visible through a wound.

Examples of simple fractures are:

  • Transverse fractures - simple transverse fractures are breaks that happen at a right angle to the bone's axis. So if you suffered a simple transverse fracture on your ulna (one of your forearm bones), this break would be a clean line across the width of your arm, rather than running down your arm
  • Oblique fractures - simple oblique fractures are breaks that run diagonally across the width on your bone
  • Spiral fractures - spiral fractures mean that your bone has a spiral break running around the surface. Spiral fractures can sometimes occur without a person knowing, and can lead to a significant recovery time

An open fracture

Also known as a compound fracture, an open fracture means the break has caused a visible wound. Open fractures can be particularly graphic and disturbing to those who have suffered them, or have watched a love one suffer one, as  the deep tissue and muscle is often visible through the wound because the broken bone has penetrated the skin.

Open fractures are also typically considered as serious breaks because of the complications and lengthy recovery time they can have.

As there is a wound, somebody who has suffered an open fracture is much more likely to experience an infection, require surgery and need prescription medication such as antibiotics or painkillers for a prolonged period of time.

There are two types of open fracture and your doctor will be able to let you know which one you have suffered:

  • Fracture open from within out - this means the fracture caused an open wound or injury
  • Fracture open from without in - this means the force of something outside the body caused a wound that led to the bone being both visible and broken

Incomplete fracture

An incomplete fracture is a break that doesn't affect the whole bone. This means only a section of the bone has been damaged, and the break does not span the width or length of the bone affected.

An example of an incomplete break is a greenstick fracture, which is a fracture commonly suffered by children. A greenstick fracture is where a break is caused from the bone bending, rather than cracking or splintering. Children suffer this type of injury more than adults because of their softer bones.

Complete fracture

A complete fracture simply refers to where the break  has completely separated the bone into two sections. Complete breaks can be both open and closed fractures, depending on the level of damage suffered.

No matter what type of broken bone you've suffered, it will be an open or closed fracture. However, there are a variety of different fractures that fall into both categories. Below we look at some of the medical names for fractures and what they mean.

Comminuted fracture

This type of break is very severe and often requires surgery to fix. This is because a comminuted fracture (or multiple fracture) is where the bone has been shattered or broken into multiple pieces.

An impacted break

An impacted break is typically caused by strong pressure being applied to a bone. This pressure or impact causes the bone to shift out of position and often into another section of bone.

Complicated fracture

A complicated fracture is a break that has led to damage in the surrounding areas to the break. This could be damage to ligaments in the knee where a femur (your thigh bone) has been broken, or damage to a lung where a rib has been broken.

Crush fracture

A crush or compression fracture is where the bone has been impacted on both sides. This is typically caused by a fall from height or where you may have been working with dangerous machinery.

Hairline fracture

Hairline fractures are small fractures that run along the length of the bone. It can be hard for x-rays to initially pick up hairline fractures as the width of the damage can be so small. That doesn't mean hairline fractures are quick to recover from however, as without treatment and rest hairline fractures can get much worse over time.

We're committed to making sure you're supported during your injury. We know that injuries can make even the most resilient of us feel like a burden, isolated from our friends and family, and different from the person we usually are.

That's why we've put together our support centre for serious injuries such as broken bones.

Visit our serious injury support centre here and read about some of the organisations and charities that can help you.

We know that suffering an injury can be an alienating and life-altering experience. Whether you've experienced a minor accident or suffered a serious injury, accidents that are out of our control have the ability to change us emotionally and physically for many years to come.

We don't believe that you should be left with physical, emotional and financial burden and that's why when you contact us about your accident, injury and recovery, we'll consider the full impact that it's had on your life and the lives of your family.

The first step to that is understanding your injury and your recovery. Get in contact with us for free on  to see how we can get you the compensation, rehabilitation and support you need.