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A fracture is a broken bone. A broken bone is a fracture.

While many people believe that a fracture is a "hairline break," or a certain type of broken bone, this is not true. A fracture and a broken bone are the same thing!

Both of these words mean that the normal bone architecture has been disrupted. This does not imply a certain type of treatment, but in general, bones heal best when immobilized. Therefore treatment often involves casting of the broken bone (or fracture) and may require surgery to secure the bone into place.

Comments
December 15, 2008 at 2:43 pm
(1) Scopey says:

Thanks, this is great. I have been having this argument with a colleague for ages. And now i have my proof. Why is it thought that a fracture is a hariline break though? Where did it start? Thanks anyway. Much appreciated.
Sam

November 5, 2009 at 7:03 pm
(2) dan says:

thank you very much, every time a talk about my broken bone my father rudely interrupts and tells me that it is not broken, it is fractured. This just blew his mind! He still won’t have it though.

January 2, 2010 at 11:25 am
(3) Eva says:

As with the first blog, I was wondering if the docter reported that there was no broken bones if it were still possible for there to be a fracture? Is a hairline fracture so thin they could be easily looked over or mistaken? Would still be possible for a bone to be broken. Different recovery methods are entitled for muscle vs. bone everytime.

May 29, 2011 at 6:39 am
(4) John Cutts says:

I read in this article that there is some herb called cissus that helps in faster bone recovery. Do you have any idea if this herb actually works. I want to recover from my fracture ASAP http://www.squidoo.com/bonefracturetreatments

February 21, 2012 at 9:14 am
(5) Rosie says:

Eva, I just found out that an injury I’ve had to my hand for a month was a fracture. The x-rays didn’t pick it up but after a few weeks of great pain I had an MRI that did. I haven’t seen the film/report so I don’t know how bad it is but its definitely possible that regular x-rays wont pick it up.

March 27, 2013 at 7:29 am
(6) A Gaddy says:

I’m not a doctor but an engineer and we frequently use similar terms with subtle differences to communicate those differences. It is beyond me why doctors choose to define two descriptive words in exactly the same way. For the rest of us, a fracture “implies” that the separation of the material is minimal and a break implies a more complete division. You would never hear someone refer to a “hairline break”. Since they are synonymous, no one should mind (or think us ignorant) if we continue to refer to a lesser division as a fracture and a full separation as a break.

November 2, 2013 at 4:24 am
(7) All In one Kitchen says:

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