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The Difference Between a Fracture and a Break

Over 1 million Americans suffer bone injuries each year. If you’re one of them, you may have heard the terms “break” and “fracture” and wondered about the difference between them.

Some people assume that fractured bones are more serious than broken bones, while others assume it’s the other way around. But the truth is that these terms are used interchangeably, and they have the same meaning to medical professionals. 

That said, there are several types of fractures. We asked our specialists at 

Performance Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine to explain how fractures are categorized, diagnosed, and treated. 

Here’s what our board-certified orthopedic surgeon, David Dickerson, MD, explained about the different types of fractures.

The most common types of fractures 

Medical specialists use specific terminology for each type of fracture. Here’s a list of the most common types of fractures:

To get a clear picture of what’s going on, our staff uses imaging techniques such as X-rays, MRI, and CT scans as diagnosis tools.

How to prevent fractures 

There aren’t many ways you can prevent fractures caused by accidents or sports injuries, other than paying attention to the road or avoiding contact sports. But you can prevent some stress fractures and fractures caused by nutritional deficiencies.

Running, for example, is a popular form of exercise, but your body isn’t built for excessive long-distance running, especially if you don’t allow yourself plenty of rest days. 

Research suggests that marathon runners are more likely to develop knee pain and stress fractures due to working the same muscle group every day. So if you run to stay fit, remember that more isn’t always better. 

As you approach middle age and beyond, you can prevent fractures by keeping an eye on your calcium levels. Low calcium levels can speed up the development of osteoporosis, a condition that weakens the bones.

Ideally, you should get all of your calcium from your diet because calcium supplements may pose some risks when used for long periods.

Get a diagnosis and treatment for your broken bone

If you’ve been injured recently and are experiencing pain, swelling, and difficulty moving, seek medical treatment immediately. If left untreated, your bones may not mend, or if they do mend, they may take longer to do so, prolonging your pain and discomfort.

Treatment for a fracture includes splints to ensure the bone heals properly, medication to control pain, and surgery.

If you suspect a fracture, contact us to schedule an appointment. Our offices are located in Toms River, Shrewsbury, and Wall Township, New Jersey. Our staff can help you relieve your symptoms.

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