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A bone fracture describes a broken or cracked bone. It can be a partial fracture (only occurring in one area of your bone) or your bone may break completely.

While a fractured bone can be painful and interfere with everyday activities, they can be treated through a number of effective treatment options. 

We share more information about fractures, including common causes and treatment options.

A fracture is another word used to describe a broken bone.

Fractures can happen after a traumatic injury or accident. They can be extremely painful and cause bruising, swelling and tenderness.

A fracture can occur in one area of your bone or across your entire bone.

While bone fractures are painful, it's important to know that your bone will usually heal by itself and over time.

Fractures occur for many different reasons. Therefore, symptoms vary depending on the cause of the fracture, as well as a person's age and the nature of their overall health and wellbeing.

Regardless of how you have fractured your bone, key signs of a fracture usually include:

  • Pain in the affected area
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Disfigurement - the area might be bent depending on how it has been fractured
  • Unmoveable - you might not be able to move the affected area without excruciating pain

Try not to put any pressure on your affected area before you see a doctor. This could damage your bone fracture further. 

There are many different types of fracture and suitable treatment options for each. These include:

Scaphoid fracture

This is an injury to one of the small bones in your wrist (the scaphoid bone). It can cause tenderness over your bone and may feel worse when you move your thumb or attempt to grip objects.

Treatment for a scaphoid fracture: This depends on the severity of the fracture, but it should heal well with casting. If the fracture is displaced, then surgery might be the best option in order to fit the displaced bone back into place.

Hairline fracture

This is also known as a stress fracture. It describes a severe bruise or very small crack in your bone. Stress fractures mostly develop in your foot or lower leg and are very common in athletes. 

Treatment for a hairline fracture: this usually involves rest, ice packs and over-the-counter medication to reduce pain and swelling. Stress fractures generally heal on their own.

Colles fracture

This describes a break in the radius close to your wrist. It is usually very painful and causes bruising. 

Treatment for a hairline fracture: if you do not require surgery, your doctor will place your wirst in a splint or cast to heal at home. If your wrist is severely fractured, your doctor might need to operate on it to put it back into place.

Compound fracture

This is also known as an open fracture and occurs when there is an open tear in the affected area. This is usually because your broken bone has pierced through your skin.

Treatment for a compound fracture: this is usually treated through surgery realign the broken bone and repair any other damage. You will likely wear a cast after surgery to help accelerate your recovery process.

We offer treatment for bone fractures caused by traumatic injury or joint pain conditions. This is performed by our range of dedicated Consultant orthopaedic surgeons. It's called Open reduction internal fixation (ORIF). 

Open reduction internal fixation (ORIF)

Open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) is a method of surgically repairing a fractured bone. Generally, this involves either the use of plates and screws or an intramedullary (IM) rod to stabilise the bone.

Successful surgery usually enables patients to return to normal daily activities.  It can avoid the need for protracted periods of time in plaster. For certain complex fractures it provides the best possible outcome, and is necessary above and beyond plaster treatment.


It is important to undergo physiotherapy after surgery for a bone fracture. This helps you restore strength and movement to your bone and maximise your recovery with the expertise of a specialist.

We have a wide body of chartered physiotherapists experienced in post-surgery physiotherapy who can help you.

You can book an appointment with one of our surgeons or physiotherapists online by calling 0808 250 7421.

Specialists Offering Fractures

Mr Colin Senior

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

BMBS, BMedSci, MRCS, FRCS(Trauma & Orthopaedics)

BMI The Winterbourne Hospital

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Mr Randeep Mohil

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer, School of Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education, University of Central Lancashire MB BCh, MRCS Ed, FRCS Trauma & Orth

BMI The Beardwood Hospital

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Mr Kim Chan

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

MB ChB, ChM, FRCS(Tr&Orth)

BMI Ross Hall Hospital 1 more BMI Kings Park Hospital

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Mr Kenneth Cheng

Consultant Orthopaedic Upper Limb Surgeon

MD, MBChB, MRCSEd, FRCSEd (Trauma & Orth)

BMI Carrick Glen Hospital 1 more BMI Ross Hall Hospital

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Mr Sean Perry Walsh

Consultant Orthopaedic & Trauma Surgeon

BM, FRCS, MSc, FRCS (Trau & Orth)

BMI The Winterbourne Hospital

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