What Happens When You Break a Bone?

The skeletal system is made up of 206 bones, hard dense tissue, blood vessels, and nerves. Bones have adapted over time to provide support for the body, anchor muscles and allow them to contract, and allow limbs to move. Additionally, bones act as the body’s source of calcium and are always going through changes under the control of hormones. Because of these things, bones are vulnerable to a large variety of injuries.

One may ask, what actually happens when a bone breaks. When outside forces are applied to a bone, it has the potential to fail because the bone cannot withstand the pressure of those outside forces. The type of force on the bone may determine the type of injury that occurs. There are a number of reasons why broken bones hurt: the nerve endings that contain fibers are irritated, broken bones bleed and the blood and swelling causes pain, and muscles surrounding the area may spasm as a result of trying to hold the fragmented bones together. Injuries are based on the location of the injury on the bone, how the bone fragments are aligned, and whether any complications exist.

Whether or not a fracture is open or closed can determine the severity of the injury. An open fracture occurs when the skin over the fracture is damaged and the potential for an infection to get into the bone is greater. Often times, this requires operating in order to rigorously clean out the site of the injury. The bone’s alignment after a fracture also can determine the severity of the injury. If the bone fragments are displaced, this could require realignment before the bone heals.

It is important to keep your bones healthy in order to prevent serious fractures or injuries from occurring. Calcium is essential for normal bone formation. If a person does not get enough calcium from their diet, bone production and bone tissues can suffer. As you get older, calcium may be reabsorbed back into the body from the bones, causing bones to become weaker.


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