Types of fractures

A question often asked is why some broken bones are considered fragility fractures (i.e. wrist) while others are not (i.e. fingers). Dr. Earl Bogoch, Orthopaedic Surgeon, St. Michael’s Hospital, provides the following explanation:

“The reason to screen is the correlation of a fracture site with high risk of future fractures.  Some fractures are more associated with trauma and not with bone fragility and therefore not predictive of future fractures.

A Tibial Plateau fracture often occurs with normal bone and is not highly predictive of a future hip fracture.
Midshaft forearm fracture is through the cortical bone of the shaft and is unlike the wrist fracture which occurs through the cancellous or spongy bone of the metaphysis, near the joint.

Fragility fractures relate mostly to cancellous bone, that is where the most dangerous bone loss occurs.

Forearm shaft fractures are not highly correlated to future hip fractures, they are more correlated to the amount of trauma received.

Solitary ulnar fractures are also not predictive. The ulnar styloid process injury is associated usually with a distal radius wrist fracture so it is significant, but it is the distal radius, not the ulnar styloid that is predictive.”