SEE: What broken bones look like


Our bones are the basic framework of our bodies and we use them for almost every imaginable activity. When we speak, we use our jawbone, and when we walk we use the bones in our feet and knees. All 206 bones in our body are involved in the delicate mechanics of physical movement.

Some activities, however, place more strain on our bones and can result in fractures. Sport, especially contact sport, often leads to broken bones. Just this weekend, Springbok prop Julian Redlinghuys suffered a frightening injury during which he sustained a "neck dislocation".

WATCH: 3 worst injuries of 2016 Olympics thus far

Although not falling purely into the category of broken bones, this case does put the spotlight on sports injuries. After a sports injury people often ask: “What does a broken ankle look like?” or “Can you actually see when an arm is broken?” We searched the web to show you what broken bones look like.

Broken ankle

There is often confusion between a “fracture” and a “broken bone”. According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons a fracture is a partial or complete break in a bone. The concepts are therefore used interchangeably by medical experts, and it’s only the degree of severity that separates the two.

Ankle fractures are common injuries and are often caused by the ankle rolling inward or outward during sporting activities.   

According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, the following symptoms are characteristic of a broken ankle.

  • Pain at the site of the fracture, which can extend from the foot to the knee.
  • Significant swelling, which may occur along the length of the leg, or may be more localised.
  • Bruising that develops soon after the injury.
  • The broken ankle will look different compared to the other ankle.
  • If there is any bone protruding through the skin, immediate medical attention is required.

GRAPHIC: To see what a protruding bone in the ankle looks like, please click here. Beware: The image you are about to see is graphic and may upset sensitive people.

    Take a look at how this ER doctor twisted this guy’s ankle back after a bicycle accident:


    The wrist can be fracture in many different ways, and is most often referred to as a distal radius fracture.

    According to the research organisation Radiopedia, a Colles’ fracture is an example of such a fracture and “a very common extra-articular fracture of the distal radius that occurs as the result of a fall onto an outstretched hand”.

    Here’s an X-ray image of a fractured radius showing the characteristic Colles' fracture with displacement and angulation of the distal end:

    broken bones


    And on this image the deformity in the wrist can clearly be seen:

    broken bones


    Broken arm

    According to the Mayo Clinic, a broken arm “involves one or more of the three bones in your arm – the ulna, radius and humerus”. This is a very common sports injury and usually happens when someone or something falls unto an outstretched hand.

    Here’s an X-ray of a broken arm. It’s clear on the left-hand side where the bone is broken:

    broken bones


    And here are the internal and external views of a fractured arm, before and after surgery:

    broken bones


    Read more:

    Fun spring exercises to build bone density

    These bones were made for walkin'

    Beef up your bones

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