LIFESTYLE

What Happens To Your Body When You Break A Bone

Be warned, broken bones are pretty graphic.

14/06/2016 17:03

The thought of breaking a bone is enough to make most of us squirm, but the science behind the injuries is actually quite fascinating.

In the video above, the team at BuzzFeed find out exactly what a broken bone is and how our body works to repair itself after suffering from one.

When Do Broken Bones Occur?

A broken bone occurs if there is too much pressure put on a bone too suddenly. 

A fracture is the technical term for a break in the bone, which is why there's sometimes confusion between the two phrases.

The most common broken bone is the clavicle or collarbone, followed by a break in the arm, then the wrist, then the hip.

There are many different types of fractures or breaks, which will determine how painful an accident is:

Types Of Fracture

Bowing Fracture: The bone bends, but doesn't break. This only happens to children.

Hairline Fracture: Just a small, thin break in the bone.

Greenstick Fracture: When the bone is cracked only on one side. 

Single Fracture: When the bone is only broken in one place. 

Simple Fracture: When a bone is broken into two pieces.

Comminuted Fracture: When the bone is broken in more than two places.

Open Fracture: When the broken bone is sticking out through the skin.

Although some fractures (particularly open fractures) can be incredibly painful, a person may experience another type of break and not even realise it.

How The Body Reacts To A Break

It is not uncommon for a person to feel dizzy or groggy after breaking a bone and sometimes people feel cold as their body goes into shock.

Within a few hours of your bone breaking, the body forms a clot around the break. Immune system cells in the blood clot get rid of germs that may have entered.

Cells called chondroblasts create a soft collagen callus around the break and a hard callus eventually replaces the soft callus, creating new bone.

During the final stage of healing, the extra bone that was created around the hard callus gets broken down, returning the bone to its original shape.

How A Break Is Treated 

A doctor sets the bone in place and wraps it in a cast to keep it there. The cast will usually be worn by the patient for one to two months for smaller breaks.

For more serious breaks, doctors will sometimes need to insert metal pins in order to help set the bone in its correct position. These pins are then removed once the bone has healed. 

Once The Break Has Healed 

Once a break has healed and a cast has been removed, a patient may experience dry skin where they're body part has been covered for so long.

They may also notice a lack of muscle definition in that area, but the good news is this can be built back up over time.

6 Ways To Strengthen Your Bones

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