What is a Transverse Fracture?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 28 October 2019
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Many different types of fractures or broken bones can occur. One of these is a transverse fracture, which means that the bone is completely broken in a manner that is perpendicular to the way the bone runs. To understand this, a person can stretch out the arm and consider the two main bones in the forearm. A hand on its side across, rather than up and down, the forearm can be used to indicate an imagined bone break; essentially, the break crosses the bone completely, and the bone is separated into two pieces.

Often, a transverse fracture results from a direct blow, but it can also sometimes occur when people do things repetitively, like running. When the fracture occurs, the bone may or may not line up completely. The action of the injury can cause the bone to separate, so that part of it is misaligned and needs to be reducted or re-placed together.

Treatment could involve either an open or closed reduction before the area is given a cast, when this is possible. In the open reduction, a medical professional must surgically put the bone back together, and they may employ things like metal pins, plates, or screws so that the bone will stay in place and heal completely. The closed reduction may still require anesthesia because it can be very painful to correctly replace the bone from an exterior and non-surgical position.


Typically, casting is required whether or not reduction occurs because a full break across the bone can take a long time to heal. The amount of time the break takes to heal may vary, but it's not uncommon for some transverse fractures to require several months of recuperation before the bone is able to completely knit itself back together.

When the fracture is closed, and the bones have not broken the skin, it may be difficult to tell the nature and severity of the break. It can be an extremely risky situation that involves not only bone but nerve damage. An X-ray is usually the main diagnostic tool to assess damage, and this may be followed by reduction of surgical or non-surgical type, depending on the extent of the injury.

One thing that might keep many of these fractures relatively in place is when they only involve injury of a single bone. In the forearm, for instance, there are two bones, the ulna and radius. If only one of these bones suffers a transverse fracture, the other, whole bone may provide stability so that the fracture stays closed. On the other hand, if both bones break, which is called a compound fracture, there is much greatly likelihood of the bones piercing the skin due to total lack of bone stability in the arm, but it really depends on the injury.

This type of fracture is a very serious break in the bone. It is likely to be quite painful, especially before the victim receives medical help. Any form of fracture requires immediate medical attention, which will provide the best opportunity for setting the bone if needed.


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Post 2

There are many supplements on the market that claim to help bone health and fracture symptoms, saying they might even speed repair of a broken bone. While I don't trust these, it can be true that trying to increase your consumption of calcium, iron, Vitamins C and D, and other nutrients can help you recover, or at least feel less pain, more quickly.

Post 1

I have known several people who got transverse wrist fractures, and these can be especially painful because they affect the use of the entire hand and arm. It's important in this case to keep a cast on as long as you are supposed to, and avoid doing things that might re-break it, which can be easier than people think.

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