A broken bone can occur under a variety of circumstances: a car crash, a bicycle accident, or a slip and fall at a grocery store can all result in broken bones. Although serious injuries, broken bones are typically treated easily at a local hospital or medical center. And while broken bones are common – about six million people break a bone each year in the United States – there are many misconceptions surrounding bone injuries.
Myth 1: A Fracture is Not as Serious as a Broken Bone
Some individuals believe that a bone fracture and a broken bone are two different injuries. Not true! A bone fracture and a broken bone are actually the same injury. It is true that there are several different types of fractures, but a fracture is not a less severe injury than a broken bone. Whether the injury is called a broken bone or a bone fracture, the injury requires medical attention.
Myth 2: I Will Know When I’ve Broken a Bone Because of Pain and/or Bruising
The mere thought of breaking a bone may make some people wince in pain. A broken bone can be a very painful experience. It is commonly believed that the pain associated with a broken bone will be so great that a person can immediately tell when they have broken a bone. This is not always true, however. While there will undoubtedly be some measure of pain with any broken bone, the level and intensity will vary from person to person. It is not uncommon for a person to delay medical treatment for a broken bone simply because the pain that person experienced is not the amount or intensity of paid he or she expects.
It is also a common misconception that pain only occurs at the site of the fracture. Since bone fractures typically damage surrounding muscles and ligaments, however, it is not uncommon for the pain to radiate and extend away from the site of the fracture.
In addition, some people expect a bruise to appear once there has been a fracture. While common, in some cases it can take up to 48 hours before bruising appears. In other words, one should not rely on the presence of bruising to confirm whether a bone has in fact been broken.
Myth 3: I Still Have Full Range of Motion, So I Can’t Have a Broken Bone
Popular belief states that once a bone is broken, that particular body part cannot be used or moved normally. For instance, it is thought that a broken leg bone means that the person cannot use his or her leg as before. But whether or not a limb or other body part can retain its full range of motion depends not only on the type, location, and number of fractures but also on the strength and any damage done to surrounding muscles and ligaments.
Bone fractures, while common, are serious injuries. You should not rely on outdated or incorrect information when deciding whether to seek treatment – if you believe you have fractured a bone, seek immediate medical attention.