This Steam project will be going over different bone fractures, specifically in the humerus bone, and vertebrae, discussing how these fractures effect the bones and showing the design of the fracture. Bone fractures are a common ailment. You have most likely either had a broken bone or know someone who has had one. But do you know the difference between the different forms of breaks? Or how the bone density and age affect fractures?

Bones form the basic structure of the human body. Creating a framework for the rest of the body to build upon. A bone is composed of three layers of tissue. Starting with the periosteum, a fibrous membrane that covers the bone. The periosteum serves as the docking point of ligament and tendons to connect to the bone. The periosteum also contains blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, and nerves, and covers most of the bone. The next layer consists of compact bone that serves as a shell for the bone. The last layer being the innards of the bone, or spongy bone, help support the bone through weight shifts in the body and provide a space for red blood cell production. 

Bone density changes through a person’s life. Two of these most notable changes would be, as a baby, and then as an elderly adult. When your bones are first formed they are not made of bone at all. Instead your bone is first made of hyaline cartilage. This hyaline cartilage calcifies as you get older and becomes the bones you will have for the rest of your life. Once you age and your bones become fragile, due to osteoclast absorbing the bone faster then your osteoblasts can reform it. Estimations say that 1 in 5 men and 1 in 3 women will receive a fracture in their life linked to fragile bones.  A study estimated that fragility fractures are responsible for 185,000 emergency room visits. It is estimated that humorous breaks account for 20% of these visits. Most of these cases occurred with women between the ages of 80 and 89. Out of these cases, 90% of them lived independently at home, and 80% did their own shopping and housework.

Bone fractures come in many different forms, with varying levels of severity and complication. The two types of fractures we will be focusing on are going to be spiral and compound fractures. Spiral fractures are characterized by the twisting design it leaves on the bone. The bone is broken at an angle, the bone is twisted and unaligned. This kind of fracture is seen most in twisting injuries, where the bone was forced to twist past its limit. In my project you can see that the bone is broken in a diagonal spiral,the red highlights are emphasizing the twist the bone endured. Compared to compression breaks, which can be characterized by their widened appearance. In a compression break, the bone has been crushed, causing the bone to flatten and all the fragments to shift giveing the bone a flattened and widened appearance. Compression fractures are seen in the vertebrae, and occur then the bone weakens and can no longer support the weight on it. The front of the vertebrae fractures and in doing so, shortens. This causes the person to start to lean forward and loose stability. Compression fractures are also highly associated with osteoporosis, with the weakening of the bone, the bone is more susceptible to the fractures. The bone model from my project shows a vertebrae, with the fractures highlighted red. The bone is also slightly wider and shorter then the unbroken counterpart. 

The body’s bones are a vital part of the stability of the body and ability to function. Bones go through many changes with the body through the life cycle, coming from hyaline cartilage, to calcifying into bone, then aging, weakening and developing osteoporosis. Bones depend on their health and strength in order to remain strong and stable and unfractured. Knowing the different fracture forms and what causes them is a great step to take in learning about bone health and structure. 


John Hopkins Medicine. (2020). Fractures. Johns Hopkins Medicine. 

OrthoArizona. (2015, May 7). Types of Bone Fractures. OrthoArizona | Complete Musculoskeletal Care. 

Launonen, A. P., Lepola, V., Saranko, A., Flinkkilä, T., Laitinen, M., & Mattila, V. M. (2015). Epidemiology of proximal humerus fractures. Archives of Osteoporosis, 10(1). 

Slobogean, G. P., Johal, H., Lefaivre, K. A., MacIntyre, N. J., Sprague, S., Scott, T., Guy, P., Cripton, P. A., McKee, M., & Bhandari, M. (2015). A scoping review of the proximal humerus fracture literature. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 16(1). 

Better Health Channel. (2012, October 31). Bones. 

Humerus – Anatomy Pictures and Information. (n.d.). Innerbody. 

OpenStax | Free Textbooks Online with No Catch. (n.d.). Retrieved November 22, 2023, from Compression Fractures. (2021, August 8).

Photos of art project

One Comment

  1. I was partnered with Amanda Parsons, and her project covers the different kinds of bone fractures in the humerus and vertebrae. The project covers in detail the layers that make up bones, and the function of bones. Amanda does a great job describing the three layers that comprise bone, the periosteum, compact bone, and spongy bone, and the functions of each layer. She explains how bone density changes throughout our lives, where babies are born with really soft bones made up of hyaline cartilage, and as you grow older your bones start to weaken and thin out. She describes that the thinning of one’s bones due to age happens because of osteoblasts absorbing bone faster than osteoclasts can reform it.
    The two types of fractures that Amanda covers in her project are spiral and compression fractures. She describes spiral fractures to be characterized by the twist design it leaves on the bone, this is caused by the twisting action that caused the bone to break. The bone was broken at an angle and the bone is twisted and unaligned. She describes how compression breaks happen when the bone is crushed, and these types of breaks usually occur in the vertebrae, when the bones weaken and can no longer support the weight on it. Compression fractures are commonly associated with osteoporosis.
    Amanda concludes her report with the importance of bones in the body, and describes how bones go through many changes throughout life. She explains how knowing the different types of bone fractures and what can cause them is a great way to learn how to maintain healthy bones.

    Izzy Widener

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