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Broken Bones

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Broken Bones

Bone fractures are very common injuries. About 6.8 million people break a bone every year, and the average American will break two bones during their lifetime. The vast majority of these fractures will heal without any complications.

Occasionally, a bone fracture can cause long-term or even life-threatening complications. As a result, you may suffer ongoing disabilities that interfere with your ability to work or even care for yourself. These effects could cause significant economic and non-economic losses.

What Is the Anatomy of Your Skeleton?

What Is the Anatomy of Your Skeleton?

The skeleton consists of bones connected by ligaments. The rigid structure of your bones allows your skeleton to hold up your body. Bone cells incorporate minerals such as calcium and phosphorus into a matrix with openings throughout. These openings make the bones light, while the minerals make them strong and rigid.

Blood vessels run through these openings. They deliver oxygen to bone cells. They also pick up new blood cells formed in the bone marrow. These blood vessels bleed when you break a bone. They also form a clot to repair it.

How Do Broken Bones Happen?

A broken bone, also called a bone fracture, happens when trauma causes the bone to crack. This crack can extend through the entire thickness of the bone or only a portion of it. Bones can break due to a few types of trauma, including:


A powerful impact can cause a bone to fracture. For example, your femur could snap when a car hits it during a pedestrian accident.


A bending force can cause a bone to curve. Bones can flex a small amount. But when they flex too far, they break. For example, suppose that you are involved in a motorcycle accident in which your motorcycle tips over after getting hit by a car. Your arm could get trapped under the motorcycle, bending it and snapping the bone.


Forces on the ends of your bones can compress them, like crushing an aluminum can. The bone breaks, and the compression forces push the broken ends into each other. A fall can cause this type of fracture. If you throw your hands out to catch yourself during a slip and fall accident, you could suffer a compression fracture in the radius or ulna of your forearm.


Crush injuries happen when pressure is applied over an area. Crushing forces can shatter a bone into tiny pieces. For example, a crate can fall on your foot in a workplace accident and cause a crushing injury.


Bones can fracture when the ends get twisted relative to each other. Unlike other types of trauma, this fracture can leave a jagged edge that requires surgery to set correctly. For example, your foot could get trapped in a car accident when the engine gets pushed into the firewall. As your body whips around, your leg could twist and fracture.


When you stress your bones, they form microscopic cracks. With rest, these cracks heal. In fact, this process can make bones stronger. These cracks can grow and spread when you do not rest and heal. Eventually, they will propagate into stress fractures.

Overuse injuries often happen at work when workers walk or lift all day. Since they happen while on the job, people with stress fractures may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

How Do Doctors Classify Broken Bones?

The classification of a bone fracture tells you what happened and the treatment needed. Doctors look at three factors when classifying a broken bone, including:

Non-Displaced Vs. Displaced

“Displacement” refers to the movement of the fractured bone after breaking. A non-displaced fracture describes a bone in which the broken ends remain aligned after the fracture. Thus, if you look at an X-ray image of a non-displaced fracture, the shape of the bone would look normal, with only a line to indicate it’s broken.

In a displaced fracture, the broken ends move out of alignment. An X-ray of a displaced fracture shows an angle or a gap between the ends.

A fractured bone can only heal when the broken surfaces are in contact. And if they are not aligned, the bone will heal crooked and stress the joints.

Doctors do not need to do anything to a non-displaced fracture. The broken surfaces touch each other, and the broken pieces form the correct shape. Thus, doctors only need to immobilize the bone with a cast to prevent it from slipping out of alignment while it heals.

Doctors must set displaced fractures before immobilizing them. They must place the bone back into alignment by external manipulation or surgery. Often, they will also secure the bone in place with plates and screws. Because of this additional work, doctors and hospitals charge more to treat displaced fractures than non-displaced fractures.

Closed Vs. Open

In an open fracture, the bone displaces so far that it breaks the skin and creates an open wound. You can easily identify an open fracture because the bone will protrude through a wound. Doctors also refer to open fractures as “compound fractures.”

The doctor will set the bone and close the wound. They can then immobilize the fracture with a cast. These injuries will bleed severely because blood vessels in the broken bone are torn. Pathogens can also enter the body through the wound, causing an infection.

You suffer no open wound in a closed fracture. The bone either remains non-displaced or displaces only a small amount.

Description of the Break

The shape or cause of the break can also help doctors determine the treatment you need and your prognosis. 

Some terms doctors use to describe a break include the following:

  • Simple or transverse fracture across the axis of the bone
  • Spiral fracture around the axis of the bone
  • Impacted fracture due to compression
  • Comminuted fracture involving at least three bone fragments
  • Stress fracture from overuse

For example, you will need reconstructive surgery to reassemble the bone after suffering a comminuted fracture. After surgery, the bone may take over a year to heal.

What Complications Can Result From Bone Fractures?

Most broken bones heal without any complications. But occasionally, you may suffer long-term or life-threatening conditions from the fracture. 

Some complications include:

Nerve Damage

The bone can tear nerves as it displaces. As a result, you might experience numbness, paralysis, weakness, and other symptoms. Unfortunately, doctors cannot repair severed nerves, and they do not heal. Thus, the nerve damage will cause lifelong issues.

Blood Clots

A blood clot forms over your fracture to heal it. If a piece of the clot breaks off, it can cause a pulmonary embolism. This life-threatening condition happens when the clot lodges in a blood vessel leading to your lungs.


If a fractured bone heals incorrectly, it can stress nearby joints. These joints can wear rapidly, leading to osteoarthritis.

Getting Compensation For Broken Bones

You can pursue compensation for bone fractures that resulted from someone else’s negligent or wrongful actions. Contact De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers at (702) 222-9999 for a free consultation to discuss how you broke your bones and the compensation you can pursue under Nevada law.

Areas We Serve

At De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers our personal injury lawyers serve the following localities: Angel Park, Anthem, Boulder City, Downtown Las Vegas, East Las Vegas, Gibson Springs, Green Valley, Henderson, Lake Las Vegas, MacDonald Ranch, McCullough Hills, Mission Hills, Paradise, Peccole Ranch, Queensridge, Reno, Seven Hills, Smoke Ranch, Spring Valley, Summerlin, The Lakes, The Strip, Whitney, and more.
We also represent accident victims in Oakland, CA.

About Our Firm

De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers, located in Las Vegas, NV, is a personal injury law firm established over 30 years ago.
We have 100+ years of combined experience securing hundreds of millions for injured people throughout Nevada. If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, contact us today to discuss your case.

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