Understanding the Types of Fractures

Living an active lifestyle is a great way to keep your body in shape and stay healthy. However, along with activity comes the inevitable injuries. When you get hurt, it could be something minor, or a major injury like a broken bone. Although these are usually not avoidable, there are plenty of treatments out there to get you back to new.

At Bay Oaks Orthopaedics, our team has all of the tools necessary to help you determine the type of fracture you’ve experienced and get you the help you need. Dr. Anthony Melillo is our board-certified orthopaedic specialist. He is an expert in fracture care, no matter what bone you’ve broken.

Signs of a fracture

A fracture is an injury that occurs from excess force on a bone that causes it to break. You could suffer a fracture from something like a fall, a sports injury, or from a more serious trauma like a car accident.

When you break a bone, the most common sensation that you feel is pain. Depending on where the break is and how severe it is, the pain could be unbearable. Other times, though, there are other symptoms as well, which include:

If your fracture is considered open, you might notice that your bone is sticking out of the injured area. This leads to intense pain and bleeding, and fast treatment is necessary to prevent infection.

There are a lot of different kinds of fractures, and your symptoms depend on what bone is broken and the type of fracture you’ve experienced.

The many fracture types

Your bones can break in a variety of ways, which makes it difficult to determine what type of fracture you have. The most obvious type of fracture is an open or compound fracture, where your bone breaks through your skin. However, if your fracture is closed, you won’t know what type you have until you get an X-ray.

There are a lot of different types of fractures that are classified by how the bone is broken or the location of the fracture. Below are some of the most common types of fractures that you might experience after an injury:


A spiral fracture is almost exactly as it sounds — the break is in a spiral pattern on the bone. This usually occurs due to a twisting motion on the extremity where the break occurs.


Compression fractures are very common in your spine. They’re caused by excess pressure on the bones, or overuse. 


A greenstick fracture is a common fracture in children, because their bones aren’t fully grown yet and are still slightly flexible. This fracture isn’t a full break, as it’s more like a crack in the bone on one side.


This type of fracture can be hard to fix, because of the way it breaks. A comminuted fracture means that your bone is broken in more than three pieces within the same area in the bone.


An oblique fracture is when your bone breaks in a diagonal pattern. This involves a larger break down the bone than if it was straight across.

Your treatment options

If you suspect that you have a broken bone, Dr. Mellilo does a thorough exam of the injury. However, to know the full extent of your fracture, Dr. Melillo orders an X-ray to make sure no other tissues were damaged. He may also need an MRI, depending on where the fracture is located.

Treatment for a broken bone depends on where the bone is located and what type of fracture you’ve suffered. For example, a minor fracture that’s not displaced might only require a splint or cast for a few weeks while the bone heals back in place. 

Immobilization of the bone is key to proper healing; if it’s not aligned correctly during the recovery, the bone won’t heal back to normal. This can cause problems later on in your life.

Splinting or casting is good for some fractures; however, in severe cases, you may need surgery to properly repair the broken bone. Surgery is needed when Dr. Mellilo doesn’t think your fracture will heal correctly with conservative treatments.

Surgery involves Dr. Mellilo making an incision at the fracture site and immobilizing your bone with plates and screws. These plates and screws hold your bone together until it heals together properly. After surgery, you’ll still need to be in a cast to keep the bone from moving.

Don’t waste time wondering if you’ve fractured a bone. If you need treatment, call us today at 281-223-1391, or book an appointment with Dr. Melillo using our convenient online booking tool.

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