Bones are made of a collagen structure filled in with bone matrix, a type of calcium crystal. This creates a strong yet shock-resistant material. At the center of the bone is bone marrow, which manufactures red and white blood cells.
Doctors refer to a break as a fracture. There are several classifications for fractures, depending on how they break:
Greenstick: A fracture in which the bone is bent, but doesn't completely break. This type occurs mostly in children, as their bones aren't as hard as adults.
Transverse: A fracture straight across the bone.
Oblique: A fracture that cuts across at an angle, exposing more surface area than a transverse fracture.
Comminuted: A fracture in which the bone shatters into many pieces. This is the most difficult to heal from, often requiring surgery to remove the fragments.
Impacted: Sometimes called a buckle fracture, it's when one in which a bone or bone fragment is into another bone. This is mostly seen in arm fractures in children.
There are also three classifications that can be applied to these fractures:
Compound: A fracture that penetrates the skin, leaving it open to the air. This is likely to cause infection.
Pathological: This is caused by a loss in bone density due to diseases like osteoporosis. It generally results in a hairline crack. Bone density is a measurement of the amount of calcium crystal attached to the collagen. A lack of bone matrix makes bones brittle.
Union and non-union: In a union fracture, if the pieces of bone were pushed back together they'd interlock perfectly. A non-union fracture is much rougher.
The repair process is a lot like cleaning and repairing a damaged building. A blood clot forms around the injury, and white blood cells remove any dead material from the area. The bone is then rebuilt by cells called fibroblasts. They surround the clot and fill it with collagen fibers, which act as a framework, and then add bone matrix to complete the bone.
This rebuilding happens at the shortest path possible; it's important that the bones are held in place so this repair creates a straight bone.
Posted 3506 day ago