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Cast Care: Why You Need a Cast

Bones can break anywhere in the body. Casts are often used for fractures in the hands, arms, legs, or feet. There are many types of fractures. But all fractures heal the same way: New bone grows to connect the broken pieces. A cast holds broken bones in place while they heal.

How Bones Break

Depending on the injury, bones can break in different ways. These are the most common types of fractures. (You may have a fracture that’s not shown here.)

image of nondisplaced fracture

Nondisplaced Fracture

  • Bone fragments (pieces) are lined up.

image of displaced fracture

Displaced Fracture

  • Bone fragments are not lined up.

image of comminuted fracture

Comminuted Fracture

  • The bone is broken into three or more pieces.

image of open fracture

Open Fracture

  • The bone breaks through the skin. (A fracture that doesn’t break through the skin is a closed fracture.)

image of greenstick fracture

Greenstick Fracture

  • The bone bends, but it may not break all the way. This happens most often in children, whose bones are softer and still growing.



Online Medical Reviewer: Hanrahan, John, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 8/26/2013
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