Breaking a Bone

The medical term for a broken bone is a fracture and the most common places to get fractures include the collarbone, the wrist, and the arm. A fracture happens when a bone is suddenly hit hard. Although having a broken bone can be painful, the bones usually heal in a few weeks.


Fun Facts

  • There are several different types of fractures. In a bowing fracture, the bone bends but doesn’t break. Only children, whose bones are softer, can get bowing fractures.
  • Sometimes a bone breaks in more than one place. A simple fracture is a break in two places. A comminuted fracture happens when the bone breaks in more than two places. Ouch!
  • In an open fracture, the bone pokes through the skin.
  • After a fracture, people often feel groggy, dizzy, or cold. They can sometimes go into shock.
  • When a bone breaks, your body forms a clot around the break. Cells called chrondoblasts form a soft shell, or callus, around the bone. This callus hardens to heal the break.
  • Finally, the bump where the callus is breaks down so the bone takes its original shape.
  • A doctor will set the bone – or place the two broken parts together – and put the arm, leg, etc. in a cast to keep it still while the bone heals.
  • Once the cast is removed, your skin might be really dry where the cast was.



  1. Fracture: a broken bone
  2. Groggy: sleepy, confused
  3. Callus: a raised area


Questions and Answers

Question: Are some people more prone to broken bones than others?

Answer: Yes, some people do seem to get more broken bones. This might be because they’re especially active or because they’re bones are soft. A condition called osteogenesis or “brittle bone disease” causes bones to be especially fragile.

Learn More

Watch a short video about how a bone heals.