Broken bones take all different forms. Hairline fractures are very thin breaks that do not split the bone entirely. Spiral fractures happen when the bone gets twisted, and they wrap around it in a spiral pattern. Among the most painful and potentially dangerous breaks, however, are compound fractures, so it’s important to know what they look like. Remember that not all breaks are the same or require the same medical care.

A compound fracture is one that punctures your skin from the inside. This opens the break to exterior contaminants and causes blood loss. It is often referred to as an open fracture. It is a very severe break, as the force required has to be enough not just to snap the bone, but to then push it through the surrounding tissue. 

Not only are these painful breaks, but the fact that contaminants can get under the skin massively increases the risk of infection, especially if you do not get medical care quickly. The bleeding may actually help, as it washes the wound, but that’s not a failsafe. You could still get an infection. 

When these breaks happen on the job, the setting makes a big difference. In a controlled setting like a warehouse, the odds of infection may be low. In a more exposed setting like an agricultural or farming center, an infection may be more likely. 

Workers need to be aware of these risks and they need to seek proper medical care. They also need to know what steps to take to seek workers’ compensation, which may help to cover some of the costs they’ll face.