Bones can break or crack in various patterns, depending on the direction and force of impact. Here are some of the most common types of fractures and how they are treated:
Transverse fracture. Transverse fractures are breaks straight across a bone that usually arise from a direct blow or an angled force. Doctors treat this type of fracture by immobilizing the bone in a cast.
Spiral fracture. Spiral fractures, which usually affect arm bones or leg bones, often occur when someone violently twists a limb. The bone can break through the skin and damage surrounding nerves and blood vessels. Doctors treat this type of fracture with immobilization in a cast or, sometimes, with traction (the application of tension to a bone to align and immobilize it) or surgery.
Comminuted fracture. Comminuted fractures, in which a bone splinters into three or more pieces, are usually caused by a high-impact injury or a direct blow. This type of fracture is sometimes difficult to treat because the pieces of bone need to be carefully repositioned.
Greenstick fracture. In greenstick fractures, a long arm bone or leg bone snaps or buckles on only one side, usually from a severe blow or a jarring force. Greenstick fractures are more common in children than in adults. Doctors treat this type of fracture by immobilizing the bone in a cast.