Broken Bone (Types of Bone Fractures)

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

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Broken wrist

Falling on an outstretched hand is the most common reason for a wrist fracture. It is often the distal radius (see illustration) that is damaged, and the fracture may involve more than one bone. Aside from the radius, wrist fractures may also include fractures of the carpal bones of the wrist (carpus), those that connect the radius to the long bones of the hand (metacarpals). Doctors often look for fractures of the scaphoid bone (the bone between the bottom of the thumb and the top of the radius), and dislocations of the lunate (the bone next to the scaphoid bone) that may be difficult to see on plain X-ray.

In some cases, the wrist is splinted even if X-rays are normal because upon physical examination the doctor may be concerned about a potential occult or hidden fracture (the fracture is so small that it does not show up on an X-ray).

Depending upon the bone that is injured and it's alignment, surgery may or may not be required. Regardless of the treatment, the goal is to have a normally aligned wrist, especially if the fracture involves the joint surface. Poor alignment may lead to arthritis in the future.

Bones of the Hand and Wrist
Bones of the Hand and Wrist

Broken hip

Hip fractures are perhaps the most common fracture seen in people 75 years of age or older. While falls and trauma may be the obvious cause, many times, people are more susceptible to hip fracture because of osteoporosis and sometimes the hip will break spontaneously.

The hip joint is made up of the interconnection of two bones in a ball and socket: 1) the socket in the pelvis (acetabulum), and 2) the ball (femoral head). Hip fractures refer to the femur fracture.

Almost all hip fractures require surgery and the type of surgery depends upon where in the femur that the fracture is located.

Picture of the bones of the hip
Picture of the Bones in the Hip

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/19/2015

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