The 3 Main Types of Fractures: Clavicle, Arm, Ankle

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Have You Suffered One of These Common Fractures?

Whether you have suffered a fracture, know someone who has, or have been lucky enough to have never had a broken bone, it is important to be familiar with the most common fractures types. Over 6 million fractures happen each year in just the United States1. Knowing the most common types of fractures and their causes can help you know how to handle and heal from them. Additionally, it can help you avoid them all-together.

Clavicle Fractures

The clavicle, more commonly known as the collarbone, is one of the most brokem bones2. Around 200,000 cases occur per year in the United States3.

The clavicle attaches to the shoulder. Most fractures typically occur in the middle area of the bone due to its vulnerability because of its long shape2. Symptoms of a clavicle fracture include heavy swelling, visible deformity, and severe pain4.

Some of the most common causes of collarbone fractures are:

  • falling onto your shoulder or outstretched hand,
  • car or other vehicle accidents, and
  • sports injuries5.

The majority of clavicle fractures will heal within 4 to 8 weeks6. A minor collarbone fracture requires a sling for support. It may also require physical therapy to regain strength in the surrounding muscles groups. Consequently, if the fracture is displaced, you may need surgery to heal the broken bone. Surgery involves repositioning the bones with a screw or attaching metal plates to the outer bone surface7.

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Arm Fractures

50% of all reported fractures in adults happen in the arms2 In fact, more than 3 million cases happen in the United States per year3.

Most arm fractures include

  • the humerus, which is the bone between the shoulder and elbow,
  • the radius or ulna, which are the bones between the elbow and the wrist, and
  • the wrist itself, which is the most common broken area of the arm2.

The main causes of arm fractures are bracing during a fall, other strong impacts, and contact sports2. Broken arms may take weeks to months to heal, depending on the severity of the fracture7. Slings are also used in the recovery process. Your doctor will recommend maintaining limited mobility and attending physical therapy. You may need surgery when a fracture is more serious. Surgery consists of a small incision and placing metal plates, screws, and/or plates to push the bone back into place4.

Ankle Fractures

The three main bones in the ankle are

  • the fibula, which is the small lower leg bone,
  • the tibia, which is the shinbone, and
  • the talus, which is the bone between the heel and lower leg4.

Typically with an ankle fracture, one or more of the ankle joint bones are broken4. There are 52 bones in the feet that account for 25% of all of the bones in the body8.

Because of all the different bones that keep the foot and ankle together, many types of fractures can occur. Ankle fractures often occur when the ankle twists or rolls while exercising or misstepping7. Ligament damage also tends to happen whenever there is an ankle fracture. As a result, this damage can make the bone fracture healing process more painful7. The surgery procedure is like that of the arm procedure. However, at times a rod will be inserted into the bone to keep the fragments together while healing4.

1- Physical Fields-OrthoInfo – AAOS. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2017, from

2- Borreli, L. (2015, March 05). Which Bones Are You Most Likely To Break? Retrieved January 30, 2017, from

3- (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2017, from 

4- Five most Common Fractures. (2016, September 26). Retrieved January 30, 2017, from

5- Broken collarbone Causes. Mayo Clinic. Accessed February 1, 2017.

6- Broken Collarbone: Recovery Time, Symptoms & Surgery. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2017,from

7- The 5 Most Commonly Fractured Bones. (2015, November 10). Retrieved January 30, 2017, from

8- General Facts & Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2017, from–statistics.html

2 thoughts on “The 3 Main Types of Fractures: Clavicle, Arm, Ankle

  1. Becca Holton says:

    This had a lot of information about the different types of fractures. The amount of people that break their arm in the United States is higher than I thought. Urgent care facilities have got to be experts in treating broken bones.

  2. Mina Edinburgh says:

    I appreciate it when you explained that the forearm injury is usually caused by falls, strong impacts, or contact sports and that it could take weeks for it to heal. Now that is a true problem. My brother just injured himself earlier during the game, and now he can’t seem to move his arm. I think he has a fractured arm. It might be best if I take him to the orthopedic center for a checkup.

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