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  #1  
Old 09-24-2008, 09:27 AM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
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Fractured vs. Broken: Is there a difference?

My BIL fell off is bike and fractured his pelvis in 3 places. Is there a difference between a break and a fracture medically? I always thought it was the same thing, but laypeople correct me every time I use "break" in place of "fracture." Anyone?
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  #2  
Old 09-24-2008, 09:31 AM
awldune awldune is offline
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In everyday usage (not medical professionals) I believe that "fracture" could mean that the bone is cracked but still in one piece. "Broken" would suggest that the bone is in two or more pieces.
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Old 09-24-2008, 09:39 AM
Gfactor Gfactor is offline
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Quote:
While many people believe that a fracture is a "hairline break," or a certain type of broken bone, this is not true. A fracture and a broken bone are the same thing!
http://orthopedics.about.com/cs/brok...g/fracture.htm

Quote:
there is no difference between the terms break and fracture
http://books.google.com/books?id=ctg...j7TXjId0WxNRyw

Last edited by Gfactor; 09-24-2008 at 09:40 AM..
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  #4  
Old 09-24-2008, 09:48 AM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalhoun View Post
I always thought it was the same thing, but laypeople correct me every time I use "break" in place of "fracture."
Do you mean you say "He broke his pelvis in three places" and they say "Don't you mean, 'he fractured his pelvis in three places"?

If so, the correct response is, "[censored] you."
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  #5  
Old 09-24-2008, 10:28 AM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KneadToKnow View Post
Do you mean you say "He broke his pelvis in three places" and they say "Don't you mean, 'he fractured his pelvis in three places"?

If so, the correct response is, "[censored] you."
Thank you. I'll have to soften my response to "phuck you" since they're family.
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  #6  
Old 09-24-2008, 11:04 AM
gigi gigi is online now
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Hairline fracture seems like a crack where the bones is still in one place. Compound fracture is broken bone pushing through the skin. So "fracture" seems to run the gamut of severity and would refer to a broken bone.

That said, they should know what you mean by broke and not nitpick.
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  #7  
Old 09-24-2008, 11:15 AM
Santo Rugger Santo Rugger is offline
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Since the OP has been answered, I'll throw in an anecdote. Playing rugby, we get banged up a lot. Most of them are not serious injuries, but many warrant missing a practice or two. Common parlance is to say "I busted my ankle," even if it's just a slight sprain. After getting so used to using 'busted' as a replacement for "hurt", I was talking to my mom on the phone.

Mom: Are you playing tomorrow?
Me: No, I busted my knee.
Mom: Oh, no! Are you okay? Did you go to the hospital!

She knows I get banged up all the time, she just thought when I said "busted" that I meant "shattered"
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  #8  
Old 09-24-2008, 11:20 AM
Staggerlee Staggerlee is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalhoun View Post
Thank you. I'll have to soften my response to "phuck you" since they're family.
Don't you mean 'copulate you'?
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  #9  
Old 09-24-2008, 11:24 AM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
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Originally Posted by Staggerlee View Post
Don't you mean 'copulate you'?
Not with a pelvis fractured in three places!
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  #10  
Old 09-24-2008, 11:26 AM
vetbridge vetbridge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gigi View Post
Hairline fracture seems like a crack where the bones is still in one place. Compound fracture is broken bone pushing through the skin. So "fracture" seems to run the gamut of severity and would refer to a broken bone.

That said, they should know what you mean by broke and not nitpick.
As others have said, "fracture" is a term used in medicine. It is typically used with one or more adjectives/modifiers to describe the exact location and geometry of the lesion. It can get complicated, as in "a minimally displaced proximal third tibial fracture with a single butterfly segment".
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  #11  
Old 09-24-2008, 11:30 AM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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"The comedian broke me up."

"The comedian fractured me."

Same thing.
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  #12  
Old 09-24-2008, 04:13 PM
Mister Rik Mister Rik is offline
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When my dad was still with the Washington State Patrol, he shared an anecdote about responding to an accident scene.

When one of the victims was told she had a fractured leg she asked, "What's the difference between a fracture and a break?" She was happily reassured when told that, while a break takes six weeks to heal, a fracture only takes 42 days.
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  #13  
Old 09-24-2008, 06:18 PM
R. P. McMurphy R. P. McMurphy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gigi View Post
Hairline fracture seems like a crack where the bones is still in one place. Compound fracture is broken bone pushing through the skin. So "fracture" seems to run the gamut of severity and would refer to a broken bone.

That said, they should know what you mean by broke and not nitpick.
Just to throw in some more [possibly unneeded] information, there is also a micro-fracture. It happens when the bone gets hit and the surface of the bone breaks but the break doesn't go all of the way through. It's kind of like when a BB hits a pane of glass or a star crack in a windshield. It results in internal bleeding and pain. While not as debilitating as a hairline fracture it takes as long to heal.
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  #14  
Old 09-24-2008, 06:30 PM
Cisco Cisco is offline
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The correct response to "he broke his pelvis in three places" is "he should stay out of those places!"
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