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Hairline & Non-Displaced Fracture: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Recovery Period

Do you know why the hairline and non-displaced fracture or any other fracture occurs? It is based on a simple fact that when the bones encounter a strong force more than they can bear, the fracture occurs immediately. The causes of a fracture is trauma due to fall/fight or vehicular accident or bones weakening in old ages, etc..

Hairline & Non-Displaced Fracture

What is a Hairline Fracture?

Hairline fracture, also referred as stress fracture can be considered as type of fracture induced by fatigue resulting from persistent stress on a bone over a long time.1 It is different from normal fracture which occurs as a result of single hard impact on the bone. While hairline fracture occurs as an outcome of constant sub-maximal loading due to particular physical activities such as jumping or running. Thus, it is very common in athletes resulting as overuse injuries.

Usually, the cases of hairline fracture are reported in specific bones that bear the weight of the body such as navicular bones (bone present in foot), metatarsals and tibia (bone forming the lower half of leg). Hairline fracture can also occur in pelvis, femur and sacrum but the occurrence is less common.

What is a Non-Displaced Fracture?

A non-displaced fracture usually occurs when the impact of the blow is not focused at a single spot but spread across a comparatively larger area. In this case, there is partial damage to the bone which is limited to just a crack. However, displaced bone fracture is a more severe case of fracture where bone breaks off completely leading to misalignment of pieces. In some extreme cases, the broken bone may even project out of the outer layer of skin. Non-Displaced fractures are hard to spot with a naked eye as there is no visible change in alignment of broken bone.

Non-Displaced Vs. Displaced Fractures

During a hard impact on the bone, it can get suffered some serious damage including various types of fractures such as closed, open, non-displaced and displaced fracture etc… Displaced and non displaced fractures are differentiated by the manner the bone is broken. In case of displaced fracture, the bone breaks completely getting separated into two pieces that cannot be perfectly realigned. However, in case or non-displaced fracture, your bone suffers a partial crack without any misalignment.

When you find that the fracture segments are detached, however they are still in a correct alignment and not move from their original position, in such scenario they are termed as non-displaced fracture. Whereas when the fractured segments moved from their original position, then you can consider it as a displaced fracture.

Causes of Hairline & Non-Displaced Fracture

Below mentioned are the possible causes of hairline and non-displaced fracture:

Causes of Hairline Fracture

Hairline Fracture is usually caused to due to constant application of force or load more than it can bear safely for long period of time.2 These generally occur in case of repetitive and overuse activity that can put a bone under severe stress. Thus, it is mostly seen in case of athletes involved in sports such as basketball, soccer etc…

Causes of Non-Displaced Fracture

A non-displaced fracture is possibly a result of effect of greater force or pressure more than a bone can able to bear. Usually, the force on the bone is very intense or occurs suddenly, which can be determine by the severity of the break. The common causes that are responsible for occurrence of non-displaced fracture in human body are falls, direct strike on the body, injuries occur during sports, overuse of the body to perform better and traumatic events such as gunshots or auto accidents.

Signs and Symptoms of Hairline & Non-Displaced Fracture

Most fractures come accompanied by severe pain when the injury occurs and can lead to discomfort if the injured region is touched or moved. It is not easy for anyone to identify that a person is suffering from what type of fracture. X-ray, Magnetic response imaging (MRI) and Computed Tomography (CT) scan methods finds very useful in such cases to locate the kind of fracture occur in the bones. The signs and symptoms of hairline and non-displaced fracture include:

Signs and Symptoms of Hairline Fracture

Signs and symptoms of hairline fracture include pain and swelling in the bone, especially when the bone is put under load or stress. If it is left unnoticed or untreated, it continues to get worse and may even cause complete disruption of integrity of bone. The bone with a hairline fracture would feel tender when touched with swelling.

Signs and Symptoms of Hairline and Non-Displaced Fracture

A person suffers from the non-displaced fracture will always notice some type of symptoms like swelling, bruising and redness in the injured region. You will also feel the sound of snap or grinding in the injured area which may get deformed on pushing through the skin.

Risk Factors for Hairline & Non-Displaced Fracture

Risk factors for hairline and non-displaced fracture are:

Risk Factors for Hairline Fracture

The risk of hairline fracture is more in case people with such routine that put constant extra stress on the body resulting into overuse of bones. Also, weakened bones with lesser mineral density can make a person prone to hairline fracture. Here are some of the risk factors that can increase the chances of suffering hairline fracture:

  • Women are at twice the higher risk of developing hairline fracture as compared to male because of diseases like osteoporosis. It is process of loss of bone tissues in woman generally occurring in case of postmenopausal women.
  • Age is another important parameter that increases the risk of hairline fracture as the density of bone minerals continue to decreases with the increase in the age. This results into weaker bones that cannot bear heavy load or stress.
  • The structure of the body such as overweight or extra height can put constant excessive on the bones that supports the weight of the body increasing the risk of hairline fracture.
  • Improper structure or misalignment of bones can also increase the risk of hairline fracture as it reduces the ability of a bone to bear heavy weight or force.
  • Weakened bones due to improper diet or malnutrition puts an individual at higher risk of developing hairline fracture.
  • People involved in labor or sports that cause overuse of body are more prone to hairline fractures.

Risk Factors for Non-Displaced Fracture

Nowadays, in the daily hectic schedule, anybody can get affected via fracture. But people with less bone density is more prone to a non-displaced fracture. There are several factors that are responsible for non-displaced fracture in human body such as advanced age, intestinal and endocrine disorders, physical inactivity, osteoporosis, physical inactivity, smoking and drinking alcohol.

Tests to Diagnose Hairline & Non-Displaced Fracture

History and Physical Examination for Diagnosing Hairline & Non-Displaced Fracture

The first stage of diagnoses for hairline and non-displaced fracture involves physical examinations and trying to determine the event that may have caused fracture. The doctor ask a set of questions related to the duration of the pain, anything that makes pain better or worse and the severity of the pain. The doctor may also ask about your diet, medications and nutrition to find out any risk factors that may have triggered the situation.

Physical examination is the process where a doctor or an expert tries to feel the area where you have pain and swelling to get an idea of the possibility of a hairline and non-displaced fracture. It involves checking for the flexibility, strength and proper alignment of the suspected bone.

Imaging Exams to Diagnose Hairline and Non-Displaced Fracture

A simple X-ray is not helpful in determining the case of hairline and non-displaced fracture. However, if the X-ray is performed after a long span of time from the start of symptoms, the appearance of an extra bone as part of healing can indicate the occurrence of hairline fracture.

The modern and sophisticated methods of imaging including computerized tomography (CT) scan, Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and some other scanning techniques are required to determine the occurrence of hairline and non-displaced fracture.

Treatment for Hairline & Non-Displaced Fracture

The treatment for hairline and non-displaced fracture includes:

Treatment for Hairline Fracture

The primary step towards treatment of hairline fracture is to completely avoid or stop the activities that may have caused it or make it worse. You need to stay away from such activities that put the effected bone under stress or load for at least a month to give your body sufficient time to heal. In case of a minute crack, the healing process takes less than a month and normal activities can be resumed. However, in case of severe hairline fractures, bracing and casting of the may be required to offer temporary support. If, a person is unable to carry out necessary movements, walking crunches or supportive orthotics may be recommended by the doctor to provide support to the bone.

If hairline fracture results in excessive and unbearable pain, use of analgesics may be required. It is necessary to refer to a physical therapist to know about the strengthening exercises that can help in recovery without causing any harm to the healing process. Surgery is rarely required to treat hairline fracture as most of the stress fractures can help themselves in less than a month, provided you give rest to the bone. If hairline fracture is not attended with care, it can become severe resulting into proper fracture.

Treatment for Non-Displaced Fracture

The goal behind treating the non-displaced fracture is putting the detached bones back into the normal position and allowing them to heal so that a new bone may form around their edges to connect the detached parts. Mostly, non-displaced fractures is treated with a cast made of fiberglass or plaster that helps in preventing bone pieces to move during healing process. You may require a traction supported via system of pulleys and weights for stretching the tendons and muscles around detached bone.

Dealing with Complications Easily

Proper treatment is given to patients for preventing complications. Medications are consider very useful for controlling the pain occur during the fracture in bones.

Prevention of Hairline & Non-Displaced Fracture

You cannot able to prevent fractures but you can work upon your bones for keeping them strong and less prone to damages. If possible, try to exercise regularly and consume a healthy diet. Foods that are rich in Vitamin D and calcium finds too effective for the strong bones.

Hairline and non-displaced fracture may be prevented by ensuring that you maintain healthy bones with good bone density and strength. A nutritional diet with intake of calcium and vitamin D can ensure high strength of bones and reduce chances of hairline and non-displaced fracture. People involved in certain sports need to be particularly careful about the diet and using protective sports equipments to reduce the chances of hairline fracture.

Recovery Period/Healing Time for Hairline & Non-Displaced Fracture

The time required for complete recovery depends of various factors such as severity of the fracture and type of treatment applied by the doctor. Thus, recovery time can easily vary from one individual to another. In such case, you need to refer to your doctor to find out the expected recovery time for your hairline and non-displaced fracture and also ask about chances of recurrence.


Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 20, 2019

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