Fracture location (summary)

Dr Craig Hacking and Dr Jeremy Jones et al.
This is a basic article for medical students and other non-radiologists

Determining fracture location is important when describing a fracture and determining plans for management.

Reference article

This is a summary article. For more information, you can read a more in-depth reference articles: bone macroscopic structure.


When describing a fracture, location is not just about what bone is involved, but also about what part of the bone is involved - different parts of the bone are at risk of different complications.

  • what bone
    • name the bone
    • determine the side
      • there should be a side-marker on the film (L:R)
  • what part of the bone
    • epiphysis
      • between the growth plate and the joint surface
      • most clearly seen when the growth plate is open (children)
      • long bones may have one or two epiphyses
        • femur has two
        • phalanges have one
      • some bones have no epiphyses
        • carpal, tarsal, pelvic and skull bones
    • metaphysis
      • between the growth plate and shaft of the bone
        • the section of the bone that widens
    • diaphysis
      • the shaft of the bone​
Medical student radiology curriculum
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rID: 47404
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