What is a Fracture?

A fracture is a type of injury that involves the breaking or cracking of a bone. Fractures are a common injury that can occur in bones due to various reasons. Some of the common causes of fractures include accidents, falls, sports injuries, osteoporosis, and overuse. Common symptoms of a fracture include severe pain, swelling, bruising, deformity, and an inability to use or weight bear on the affected area. Physiotherapy for fractures can expedite your path to a complete recovery and lead to a more favourable rehabilitation result.

Types of fractures

Fractures can range from a small crack in the bone to a complete break that causes the bone to come apart. In some cases, the fracture may also cause deformity or even break through the skin. Here is a list of some of the different types of fractures:

  • Closed fracture (or simple fracture) – this is one of the most common fractures, this is when the bone breaks but does not pierce the skin.
  • Open fracture (or compound fracture)- this is when the bone breaks and pierces through the skin.
  • Greenstick fracture – it is common in children; this is when a portion of bone breaks causing the bone to bend but does not break completely.
  • Comminuted fracture – more severe type of fracture where the bone breaks into several pieces.
  • Avulsion fracture – when a small piece of bone is torn away from the main bone.
  • Stress fracture – a hairline crack in the bone.


A fracture is a serious injury and the NHS advise to seek medical help as soon as possible if you think you’ve broken a bone. This may be at your local urgent care centre for minor breaks (toes or fingers) or to your nearest A&E for more severe fractures. Always call 999 for very severe fractures such as a broken neck or back or if you’re not able to get to A&E quickly.

Immediate treatment options may include immobilization with a cast or brace, surgery to realign and stabilize the bone, or physiotherapy to aid in the healing process. It is important to follow the doctor’s instructions carefully to ensure proper healing and avoid complications.

Physiotherapy for fractures

Physiotherapy can help patients improve range of motion, stretches to prevent muscle stiffness, and strength training to help rebuild muscle. Some other Physiotherapy treatment examples include:

  • Massage to manage oedema and swelling.
  • Balance and co-ordination re-education.
  • Education about the injury.
  • Taping to support the injured area/ help with swelling.
  • Return to work/ sport rehabilitation.


The recovery of a fracture can be a long and challenging process, but it is essential to follow the guidelines set by your healthcare provider to ensure a successful outcome. It is also important to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle during the recovery process to promote healing. This may include eating a balanced diet rich in nutrients, staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep.

While the recovery process can be challenging, it is important to remain patient and committed to rehabilitation program to ensure a full recovery. With proper care and attention, most fractures can heal completely, allowing you to resume your normal activities and live life to the fullest.

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