Can a Subtle Fracture Become More Serious?

The short answer is yes. Even though bones are remarkably adept at healing themselves, a fracture that isn’t treated quickly or correctly will become worse, as is the case with most medical issues.

Our AFC Urgent Care Hixson team provides further information on fractures below, so keep reading!

Are All Fractures the Same?

No, they aren’t; there are actually many types of fractures. Some are much more serious than others, while some can be very small yet painful. Some fractures completely break across the bone, while some partially break along the length of the bone.

No matter the type of fracture, most of them result from some sort of physical trauma or stress, like an automobile accident, fall or a sports-related injury. We’ve listed some of the most prevalent bone fractures below, out of the many different types that exist.

Types of Fractures

  • Closed or open fractures: If the injury doesn’t open the skin, it’s called a closed fracture. If the skin does open, it’s called an open fracture or, perhaps more commonly, a compound fracture.
  • Complete fractures: The break goes completely through the bone, separating it in two.
  • Partial fractures: The break doesn’t go all the way through the bone.
  • Occult fractures: A fracture that doesn’t appear clearly on an X-ray.

Does a Small Fracture Get Bigger?

It can. The most common types of small fractures are stress or hairline fractures, but fractures known as occult fractures can happen, as well. As we said earlier, occult (which means “hidden”) fractures are not easily seen on an X-ray, but they can get worse and can cause lots of pain if they aren’t diagnosed and treated quickly and correctly.

Just like any fracture, an occult fracture can occur because of an acute injury, but they can also happen because of repeated injuries and stresses on weak bones. Treatment for a fracture like this depends on the location of the injury, but common treatments include casting, splinting or the use of crutches if the fracture is on the leg or foot region.

Risk Factors of Occult Fractures

  • A person has a condition that weakens bones
  • A person is not physically fit
  • A person is a military recruit
  • A person engages in certain athletic activities

Do you think you may have a fracture but aren’t sure? Visit our AFC center to get an X-ray—no appointments necessary!