A broken bone is called a fracture. You can fracture your bone completely, or partially. Symptoms of a bone fracture are pain, inability to move or put weight on the injured body part, swelling, bruising, bleeding (if there is an open wound), or deformity.
There are three common causes of bone fractures:
- Trauma: This includes falls, twisting injuries, sports injuries, car accidents, or even fights.
- Medical conditions that weaken the bone: This includes osteoporosis, infections, osteogenesis imperfecta, chronic steroid use, or tumors that occur in bones.
- Overuse injuries: Commonly seen in athletes, stress fractures (non-displaced hairline cracks in bone) result from repetitive motions and repeated stresses on the bone.
Children may also be more prone to bone fractures, especially in their arms and legs, as they tend to be more active than adults.
Fractures require medical treatment. See a doctor (preferably an orthopedist) if you suspect a bone fracture. The fracture may require straightening or setting (reduction), splitting or casting (immobilization), and in some cases, surgery.
Medically reviewed by Aimee V. HachigianGould, MD; American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Fractures (Broken Bones).
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Forearm Fractures in Children.