Munson Health

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by Leach R

Risk Factors

Factors that increase the risk of fracture include:
  • Increased age
  • Postmenopause
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Osteoporosis —decreased bone mass which weakens bones and affects both men and women
  • Certain medication used to treat type 2 diabetes
  • Accidents or violence
  • Participation in sports
  • Malnutrition
  • Certain chronic diseases
  • Child abuse
  • Inactivity
  • Conditions that increase the risk of falls, such as nerve or muscle disorders
  • Certain congenital bone conditions—rare


Treatment involves:
Devices that can hold a bone in place while it heals include:
  • A cast—may be used with or without surgery
  • Metal pins across the bone with a frame holding them outside the bone—requires surgery
  • A metal plate with screws—requires surgery
  • Screws alone—requires surgery
  • A rod down the middle of the bone—requires surgery

Healing and Rehabilitation

Healing time ranges from three weeks for a simple finger fracture to many months for a complicated fracture of a long bone. All fractures require rehabilitation exercises to regain muscle strength and joint motion.

Possible Complications

  • Delayed union—It takes longer than usual to heal, but does heal.
  • Nonunion—The bone does not heal and needs some special treatment.
  • Infection—This is more likely to happen after an open fracture or surgery.
  • Nerve or artery damage—This usually occurs as a result of severe trauma.
  • Compartment syndrome—Severe swelling in the spaces of the limbs that causes damage to body tissues.
  • Late arthritis—This may happen if the surface of a joint is badly damaged.


You can reduce your chances of getting a fracture:


American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine



Canadian Orthopaedic Association

Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation



Fractures: an overview. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available: . Updated October 2012. Accessed October 9, 2013.

Gruntmanis U. Male osteoporosis: deadly, but ignored. Am J Med Sci. 2007;333(2):85-92.

McCarus DC. Fracture prevention in postmenopausal osteoporosis: a review of treatment options. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2006;61(1):39-50.

Rockwood CA, Green DP. Fractures in Adults. Vol 4. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins; 1994.

1/4/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Loke YK, Singh S, Furberg CD. Long-term use of thiazolidinediones and fractures in type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis. CMAJ. 2009;180:32-39. Epub 2008 Dec 10.


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