It’s not broken….it’s just a fracture.

One misnomer I used to hear all the time whilst working in the Emergency Department is the statement: “It’s not broken….the doctor told me it was just a fracture.”

This misperception that a fracture is something other than a broken bone seems to be pretty common in the general community.
So let us clear it up.

The term fracture means the bone is broken.

There are in fact many types of fractures, varying in degrees of seriousness and different ways that they will be clinically managed.
Here is a good graphic of various leg fractures from to give you some idea.


So if a doctor or a nurse tells you that your arm is fractured, I’m afraid it is definitely broken.
The next step is to ask them to explain to you exactly what sort of fracture it is (hopefully they will use your x-ray, or a drawing to help with this), and what management options you have. It is a good idea to have a clear picture in your own mind of what exactly the type of fracture you have looks like.

And, of course, to have a clear understanding of how it will be managed until it heals.

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