A bone fracture (sometimes abbreviated FRX or Fx, Fx, or #) is a medical condition in which there is a break in the continuity of the bone. A bone fracture can be the result of high force impact or stress, or a minimal trauma injury as a result of certain medical conditions that weaken the bones, such as osteoporosis, bone cancer, or osteogenesis imperfecta, where the fracture is then properly termed a pathologic fracture.
Although broken bone and bone break are common colloquialisms for a bone fracture, break is not a formal orthopedic term.
Signs and symptoms
Although bone tissue itself contains no nociceptors, bone fracture is painful for several reasons:
Breaking in the continuity of the periosteum, with or without similar discontinuity in endosteum, as both contain multiple nociceptors.
Edema of nearby soft tissues caused by bleeding of torn periosteal blood vessels evokes pressure pain.
Muscle spasms trying to hold bone fragments in place
Damage to adjacent structures such as nerves or vessels, spinal cord and nerve roots (for spine fractures), or cranial contents (for skull fractures) can cause other specific signs and symptoms.