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?

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.

http://orthopedics.about.com/cs/brokenbones/g/fracture.htm

http://books.google.com/books?id=ctgRvpcgd9sC&pg=PA664&dq=difference+between+fracture+and+break+bone&client=firefox-a&sig=ACfU3U386J-VRHLyjC55j7TXjId0WxNRyw

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.

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.

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” :smack:

Don’t you mean ‘copulate you’?

Not with a pelvis fractured in three places!

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”.

“The comedian broke me up.”

“The comedian fractured me.”

Same thing.

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.

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.

The correct response to “he broke his pelvis in three places” is “he should stay out of those places!”