Fractures, Sprains, and Strains - Causes






Fractures, sprains, and strains are all caused when excessive force is applied to some part of the body. Normally, bones, muscles, ligaments, and other body parts are very resilient. They can withstand large forces and twisting actions. But sometimes these forces and actions become too great. In such cases, bones may be broken, ligaments torn, or muscles bruised.

Risk Factors for Fractures

Anyone can fracture a bone. People who are active are more likely to break a bone, however. For example, people who participate in contact sports, like football and basketball, are at high risk for fractures. The elderly are more likely to break bones than are younger people. Bones become more brittle as one grows older.

Before the age of fifty, more men than women suffer fractures. These fractures are often caused in work-related injuries. After the age of fifty, more women than men suffer fractures. Women tend to lose bone mass more quickly than do men as they grow older.

Some diseases of the bone can increase a person's risk for fractures. Two examples are rickets and osteoporosis (pronounced OSS-tee-o-puh-RO-sis; see osteoporosis entry).

Common types of bone fractures. (Illustration by Electronic Illustrators Group)
Common types of bone fractures. (Illustration by
Electronic Illustrators Group
)

Risk Factors for Sprains and Strains

Sprains and strains are common. Anyone can have them. But children under the age of eight are less likely to have sprains than older people. Their ligaments are quite tight. If too much force is placed on a joint, a bone is more likely to break than a ligament is to tear. People who are active in sports suffer more sprains and strains than less active people. Repeated sprains in the same joint can make the joint less stable and more likely to suffer sprains again in the future.

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