A compound fracture is a break or crack in your bone that is visible through your skin. Generally, bones break as a result of force and/or trauma like a car crash. Fractures can also be caused by less traumatic but repeated force. For example, if a soldier frequently marches with a heavy pack on their back, the repeated force on their leg could cause a crack in their fibula.
What makes a fracture “compound” or “open” is when the broken bone pierces your skin. If you happen to fall from a ladder and land on your arm, breaking it, you’ll know it’s a compound fracture if you can see the bone. “Simple” or “closed” fractures don’t break through your skin.
Compound fractures are extremely painful. It may also be frightening to see your bone exposed. A fracture is a serious injury, and you should immediately go to the emergency department for help.