What is a bone fracture?
A bone fracture is when the force of a blow or flow causes the bone to break. A bone fracture is also called a bone break or crack.
There are different types of bone fracture:
- closed fracture: the skin over the bone is intact
- open fracture: the skin has been pierced
Fractured bones require medical attention. If the fracture is the result of a major trauma or accident, call triple zero (000). You should also call for emergency help if the person:
- is unconscious or not responding — you should perform CPR if there is no pulse or breathing
- is bleeding heavily
- has bone visible through the skin
- has a possible back, neck, or head injury
What are the symptoms of a bone fracture?
Symptoms of a bone fracture may include:
- pain around the area of the injury
- bruising or discolouration
- it’s difficult or impossible to move the limb normally
- loss of power in the limb
What causes bone fractures?
The most common cause of bone fractures is trauma, such as a sporting injury, motor vehicle accident, or a fall.
Overuse and repetitive motion can also place more stress on a bone and cause it to fracture.
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Last reviewed: June 2020