Most Common Broken Bones

Written by: Elizabeth Toigo, OMS-II

The primary reason for a broken bone is due to a sudden force and/or twisting, leading to a fracture or break in the bone structure[4]. Pressure concentrated in one location, speed of the object, and force of impact influence the possibility of a broken bone[5].

If you have suffered from a broken bone and are looking for expert treatment, contact OrthoNeuro today! Our expert orthopedic surgeons offer several treatment options depending on the type of break sustained. We are serving many patients throughout the Columbus, Ohio area.

What is the Most Common Bone to Break?

Here is a list of some of the most common bones that get broken:

A doctor checking the broken arm bone of a patient.
  • Collarbone: Out of all 206 bones, the clavicle is the most common broken bone in the entire body. This is because it is a delicate S-shaped bone covered by thin tissue positioned between the shoulder blade and upper rib cage[5]. When falling, people stretch their arms out in order to catch themselves. This added pressure causes the clavicle to break[4].
  • Arm: The arm, more specifically the humerus (upper arm) and ulna (forearm), are the second most broken bones, specifically in children. The arm tends to be broken in a similar manner to the clavicle, where individuals catch themselves wrong when falling[4].
  • Wrist: The wrist is a common broken bone in people under 75 years of age from physical activity[4]. The wrist can be broken, similar to the arm, when catching yourself from falling[2].
  • Hip: The hip is the most common broken bone in people over 65 years of age. This is due to the increase in falls in this population from arthritis or brittle bones, where the hip breaks from overload pressure from the body[4].
  • Ankle: The ankle is another common broken bone through physical activity similar to the wrist[4]. This ankle fracture can occur due to a roll, twis, or torsion[5].

What Are Possible Complications of Broken Bones?

Complications can arise when bones are broken. The following lists some of the possible complications:

  • Tailbone: The tailbone involves multiple bones of the spine. Pain from a broken tailbone can last up to a year and the recovery process can be extremely challenging. Walking, sitting and sleeping may all be painful, leading to an increased rehabilitation period and discomfort[1]. Unfortunately, splinting is not an option for a broken tailbone either[3].
  • Femur: The femur is not only the largest, strongest bone in the body, but it also has main arteries nearby that can be damaged when broken, leading to severe bleeding or blood clots[3]. Commonly, surgery is required, and there will be a lack of walking on the area for many weeks afterwards[2].
  • Spine: The spinal cord is protected by the spinal column. A broken spine can lead to nerve compression, leading to potential sensory and motor consequences. Thus, severe pain, loss of height, and disability can occur[3].
  • Ribs: When broken, the ribs in the chest cavity can become jagged, leading to a long recovery time and commonly breathing difficulty, sleep disruption, movement challenges, and eating impairment[2]. Furthermore, ribs cannot be splinted. The area can become swollen, tender, and excessively bruised due to broken ribs. There can also be serious complications, as broken ribs can damage major blood vessels or internal organs[1].
  • Collarbone: The clavicle is a main bone in the shoulder, so when this is broken, any type of upper body movement will likely lead to sudden sharp pain. A collarbone can take many weeks to heal[1].

Book an Appointment

Treatment for a broken bone can range from self-healing to a sling to surgery. The most important part of the recovery process is to reduce pain, swelling and immobilize the affected area. If you are concerned about a broken bone, it is always necessary to consult a doctor for further evaluation. 

At OrthoNeuro, we are your trusted partners in treating broken bones. Contact us now to book an appointment with one of our orthopedic surgeons. You can find us throughout Columbus, Ohio. Book your appointment now!


  1. The most painful bone to break: The Complete Online List. StraightFromTheDoc. (n.d.). 
  2. Most painful broken bones. (2021, December 3). Healthgrades. 
  3. 10 worst bone fractures ever. (2022, November 28). Movement Orthopedic. 
  4. Most commonly broken bones. (2022, March 16). The Compensation Experts. 
  5. What is the most commonly broken bone?. iCare. (2021, February 4). 


Medically Reviewed by Martin Taylor, DO, PhD

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