What Is the Difference Between a Fracture and a Broken Bone?

Coming from the Latin word fractura, which means broken bit or fragment, broken bones and fractures are the same thing, according to the Manhattan Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Group, PC. There are three different types of fractures or broken bones that occur: stress fractures, displaced fractures and non-displaced fractures. While stress fractures and non-displaced fractures typically heal without operation, displaced fractures require surgery.

If there is contact with the broken ends of a bone after a break, this is called a non-displaced fracture; when bone alignment and stability are preserved, this type of fracture is treated using stabilization, according to the Manhattan Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Group, PC. Displaced fractures occur when there is a major shifting of bones, loss of alignment or instability after a break; they are commonly caused by traumatic injury related to car accidents or car-pedestrian accidents. Stress fractures occur after the repeated use of certain bones in activities such as distance running or marching. While displaced and non-displaced fractures are most typically the result of accidents and cannot be avoided, stress fractures are more often related to specific repetitive activities. Stress fractures can be prevented by avoiding excessive repetitive exercise and eating a healthy diet to maintain bone health.