Figure 1: A) Transverse, B) Oblique, C) Spiral, D) Comminuted, E) Greenstick, and F) Impacted fracture.
Figure 2: A) Butterfly, B) Longitudinal, C) Segmented, D) Hairline, and E) Avulsion.
Figure 3: A) Boxer’s fracture, B) Bennett’s fractures, C) Parry’s or Monteggia’s fracture, D) Colles’ fractures, and E) Smith’s fractures.
Figure 4: Skull with signs of post-mortem fractures. This photo is from a practical lab session.
Here is a list of all my Quick Tips topics to date on fracture types, click the relevant title to learn about the fractures within the figure. Below each title is a preview of the blog content, so if you’re interested click the link to learn more. This skill is very important when assessing human remains, whether they are in an archaeological, anthropological or forensic context.
In this Quick Tips post I will show you some ways to identify and deduce common fracture types and their key characteristics. The definition of a fracture is a break in the continuity of a bone. There are three major causes of fractures: acute injury (an accident); underlying disease which then weakens the bone making it susceptible to fractures; and repeated stress (as seen in athletes). All fracture types can be placed in two categories; open and closed.
A) Butterfly Fracture: Butterfly fractures usually affect long bones and can be caused by car accidents or by being knocked side on.
B) Longitudinal Fracture: As a transverse fracture is a bone along the horizontal axis, a longitudinal fracture is along the vertical axis.
This blog post will highlight some of the common ‘named’ fractures you will often find in archaeological and anthropological settings. It is important to know their characteristics and common causes to help establish what happened – whether the fracture was received by defensive or offensive action, or purely accidental. This blog post will examine the first five common fractures associated with the hand and forearm bones.
There is a relatively easy way to see whether a fracture to a skeleton is ante, peri or even post mortem. It is essential to detail and deduce which category a fracture falls into, as this is very important to see whether the fracture had played a part in the person’s death.
To first classify a fracture we need to understand what the different categories mean, some of you will already know these terminology but here’s a quick reminder:
- If a fracture is ante-mortem, it means that the fracture was made before death of the persons.
- With peri-mortem fractures, it means that the fracture was received at or near the time of death of the persons – so could have been the fatal strike.
- Post-mortem fractures are fractures that have been received after death, so during the time from death to the time of recovery. These fractures are usually from excavation processes, dismemberment, or even natural processes (soil, animal and plant activity).
Read more anthropology/archaeology quick tips from All Things AAFS! by clicking here!