incomplete fracture

Incomplete Fracture


An incomplete fracture is a fracture of the bone that can take any form and effect any area of the body. A fracture is generally the condition when there is a crack in the hard tissue of the body, and this applies to bones. Such fractures are caused due to several factors such as osteoporosis, sudden impact, and some kinds of cancer. If a person feels that he has a fractured bone, then he should take some steps such as calling for medical assistance right away and demobilizing the suspected part.

Incomplete vs. Complete Fractures

An incomplete fracture occurs when your bone doesn’t fully break. In other words, some part of the bone is still holding on in its original position despite the fracture. Complete fractures are when the bone fully breaks and snaps into two or more pieces. Incomplete fractures generally occur when there is a low impact or indirect injury. For example, a common cause of incomplete fractures is when one extends the arm to break a fall.

Types of Incomplete Fractures

Bowing Fractures

These types of fractures are often found in children. Also, adolescents are affected by it.  These are the fractures of long tubular bones and often require no healing with remodeling.

Hairline Fracture

A hairline fracture, also known as a stress fracture, is very small minute cracks in the bone. It is common in athletes who do repetitive running and jumping activities such as soccer and basketball. This fracture is a typically a fatigue-induced fracture that is developed by constant strain and excessive training. It is often seen in weight-bearing bones like bones of the foot and lower leg as these bones handle a lot of stress during physical activities.

Greenstick Fracture

It is often seen in the young children (less than 10 years of age) as their bones are flexible. This fracture occurs when the bone is bent and breaks partially. They are usually mid-diaphyseal that affects lower leg and forearm.

Greenstick Fracture


Torus Fracture

It is also known as the buckle fracture and is seen in children. It often occurs in metaphyseal part, especially of the distal radius.

Signs and Symptoms

It is hard to identify the signs of an incomplete fracture most fractures don’t have any external signs on the body. The general symptom of any incomplete fracture is pain and swelling in the surrounding area of the cracked bone. In some cases, deformity can be seen on the affected part.

Causes of an Incomplete Fracture

  • An outside forces such as a twisting injury, sudden or strong fall, can lead to an incomplete fracture
  • Age is another main causes of incomplete fracture as older people are more prone to this injury due to weaker bones that are unable to withstand outside forces.

Incomplete Fracture


Treatment and Recovery

Fractured bone can be very painful, and therefore, anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen are commonly suggested. Taking these medicines as prescribed by the doctor can help in reducing pain. There are many other pain relievers that can be taken depending on the doctor’s recommendation.

The doctor may cast or brace the affected part as it will aid in the healing process. This also helps in maintaining the alignment of the fractured bone. It is a traditional method of treating fractures.  There are chances that such conservative treatment fails and one has to undergo a fracture surgery. Healing times vary based on the severity of the injury and the individual’s ability to recovery.


Compartment syndrome is one of the most common complications for this type of fracture. It is identified by the compression of nerves, blood vessels, and muscles within the body. Due to this condition, the compressed parts may die as there would be no oxygenation. If the fractured bone is not treated effectively then there is a high risk for compartment syndrome. The result will be the amputation of the fractured part. Immediate medical assistance should be taken to avoid complications.