—fracturable, adj. —fractural, adj. —fracturer, n./frak"cheuhr/, n., v., fractured, fracturing.n.1. the breaking of a bone, cartilage, or the like, or the resulting condition. Cf. comminuted fracture, complete fracture, compound fracture, greenstick fracture, simple fracture.2. the act of breaking; state of being broken.3. a break, breach, or split.4. the characteristic manner of breaking: a material of unpredictable fracture.5. the characteristic appearance of a broken surface, as of a mineral.v.t.6. to cause or to suffer a fracture in (a bone, etc.).7. to break or crack.8. Slang. to amuse highly or cause to laugh heartily; delight: The new comic really fractured the audience.v.i.9. to become fractured; break: a mineral that does not fracture easily.[1375-1425; late ME < MF < L fractura a breach, cleft, fracture, equiv. to fract(us) (ptp. of frangere to BREAK) + -ura -URE]Syn. 7. smash, shatter, splinter, rupture, split.
* * *IBreak in a bone, caused by stress.It causes pain, tenderness, and inability to use the part with the fracture. The site appears deformed, swollen, and discoloured, and the bone moves in abnormal ways. It must be protected from weight bearing and movement between the broken ends while it heals, producing puttylike new tissue that hardens to join the broken pieces together. Complications include failure to heal, healing in the wrong position, and loss of function despite good healing. Fractures in joints present a particularly serious problem, often requiring surgery. See also osteoporosis.IIIn engineering, rupture of a material too weak to sustain the forces on it.A fracture of the workpiece during forming can result from flaws in the metal; these often consist of nonmetallic inclusions such as oxides or sulfides trapped in the metal during refining. Laps are another type of flaw, in which part of a metal piece is inadvertently folded over on itself but the two sides of the fold are not completely welded together. Structural and machine parts subject to vibrations and other cyclic loading must be designed to avoid fatigue fracture. See also ductility, metallurgy, strength of materials, testing machine.IIIIn mineralogy, the appearance of a surface broken in directions other than along cleavage planes.There are several kinds of fractures: conchoidal (curved concavities resembling shells, as in glass); even (rough, approximately plane surfaces); uneven (rough and completely irregular surfaces, the commonest type); hackly (sharp edges and jagged points and depressions); and splintery (partially separated splinters or fibres).
* * *in mineralogy, appearance of a surface broken in directions other than along cleavage planes. There are several kinds of fractures: conchoidal (curved concavities resembling shells—e.g., flint, quartz, glass); even (rough, approximately plane surfaces); uneven (rough and completely irregular surfaces, the commonest fracture type); hackly (sharp edges and jagged points and depressions—e.g., most metals); and splintery (partially separated splinters or fibres—e.g., jadeite [see photograph—>]). See also cleavage.▪ of bonein pathology, a break in a bone caused by stress. Certain normal and pathological conditions may predispose bones to fracture. Children have relatively weak bones because of incomplete calcification, and older adults, especially women past menopause, develop osteoporosis, a weakening of bone concomitant with aging. Pathological conditions involving the skeleton, most commonly the spread of cancer to bones, may also cause weak bones. In such cases very minor stresses may produce a fracture. Other factors, such as general health, nutrition, and heredity, also have effects on the liability of bones to fracture and their ability to heal.A fracture is called simple (closed) when the overlying skin is not broken and the bone is not exposed to the air; it is called compound (open) when the bone is exposed. When a bone weakened by disease breaks from a minor stress, it is termed a pathological fracture. An incomplete, or greenstick, fracture occurs when the bone cracks and bends but does not completely break; when the bone does break into separate pieces, the condition is called a complete fracture. An impacted fracture occurs when the broken ends of the bone are jammed together by the force of the injury. A comminuted fracture is one in which the broken ends of the bone are shattered into many pieces. Fractures can also be classified by their configuration on the bone: a transverse fracture is perpendicular to the axis of the bone, while an oblique fracture crosses the bone axis at approximately a 45 degree angle. A spiral fracture, characterized by a helical break, commonly results from a twisting injury.The most common symptoms of fracture are pain and tenderness at the site, a sensation of grating or grinding with movement, and inability to use the limb or body part supported by the bone. Physical signs include deformity of the part, swelling in the region of the fracture, discoloration of the overlying skin, and abnormal mobility of the bone.All fractures attempt to heal in the same fashion. The injured bone quickly produces new tissue that extends across the fracture line and joins the broken pieces together. At first this new tissue is soft and puttylike; later, it is bony and hard. While re-forming, the bone must be protected from weight bearing and movement between the fracture ends.The major complications of fracture include failure to heal, healing in a position that interferes with function, and loss of function despite good healing. Failure to heal is frequently a result of infection. Because healing will not ordinarily take place until an infection is treated, all procedures are aimed at combating infection at the site of injury whenever the possibility exists (as in compound fractures). Failure to heal may also result from severe destruction of bone, disruption of blood supply, or inadequate immobilization of the limb or body part involved; sometimes the cause cannot be determined. Healing is encouraged by cleansing of the fracture site, closure of the overlying broken skin by suture or skin graft, and reimmobilization; bone chips may be used to fill a gap in the fractured bone left by long infection or severe bone destruction. Healing in a poor position, or malunion, may occur when realignment has been improper or when injuries have destroyed large portions of the bone so that deformity must be accepted to salvage it. Sometimes the bone is therapeutically refractured so that proper alignment may be achieved. Injuries to the growth centres of bones in children cause malunion and subsequent growth in a deformed manner.Fractures in joints (joint disease) present a particularly serious problem because the normally smooth surface of the joint may be destroyed. If the fracture heals in irregular alignment, the joint is likely to be permanently stiff and painful; osteoarthritis is a frequent complication in old age. Unless the surface of the joint can be accurately aligned by manipulation or traction, surgery is necessary. Loss of function may be caused by prolonged immobilization, by heavy scarring after severe injury or infection, or by injury to motor nerves.
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