What is a broken bone (fracture)?
Bones make up the skeleton of the body. They allow us the ability to interact
with our environment and lift out body up against gravity. Bones are attachment
points for muscles which allows us to run, jump, sit, kneel, grasp, and
lift. Bones also protect organs from potential damage, and the bone marrow (tissue inside of bones) is responsible for blood cell production.
Bones are the body's storage area for calcium. On a cellular level, calcium
is always entering and exiting bone under the influence of the body's hormones.
Parathyroid hormone increases calcium levels in the bloodstream, meaning, that it
regulates it's release by bone and decreasing bone density. Calcitonin decreases
blood calcium levels and helps restore calcium to bone. Calcium is needed in the
blood stream to help muscle cells including the heart to function. Hormone
levels will sacrifice calcium in bone to maintain blood calcium levels in a
normal range. For that reason,
calcium and Vitamin D are important to maintain
calcium stores in the body.
What causes a broken bone?
When a bone has an outside force exerted upon it, like a blow or a fall,
there is potential that it cannot withstand the amount of force and it
breaks. That loss of integrity results in a fracture. It is important to
remember that a fracture, break, or crack all describe the same situation, an
injury to the bone where it has been damaged. One term is not more serious than
another. Fracture, break, and crack all mean the same thing.
Depending upon the situation, the amount of force required may not be very
great. People with osteoporosis, the bones
lack calcium and are brittle, a minor injury or even gravity may create enough of a
force to cause a vertebral compression fracture of the back or a hip fracture.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/14/2014