The Most Commonly Broken Bones

Breaking a bone is a painful experience – one the patient won’t soon forget. They’re a fairly common injury, however, with more than 6 million people suffering from a broken bone every year. Many Americans share broken bone experiences. Knowing the bones that are broken most often could help you prevent a break.


Arms account for 50% of broken bones in adults. They commonly break along the humerus of the upper arm or radius of the ulna in the lower arm. As with most bones, an arm break can be clean or result in several fractures. Broken arms usually occur as you brace for a fall or upon impact. Broken arms can be the result of sports injuries, falls from heights, or a simple slip and fall.

Legs and Feet

The expression “break a leg” is not just for theater aficionados. Breaking a leg or foot is one of the most painful experiences a patient can have. About 25% of the bones in the body are located in the feet, providing ample opportunity for clean breaks and fractures. Left untreated, patients with broken legs or feet often develop chronic pain, arthritis, and other serious conditions. It’s not uncommon to re-break a foot after it heals, so follow your doctor’s treatment plan carefully.


Broken ankles are particularly dangerous because of the number of bones in them. The more bones that are broken, the less stable your ankle will be and the more likely you will be to injure it further. Many people try to walk on broken ankles, worsening the original injury. If you break an ankle, get to the emergency room or clinic immediately. Broken ankles are common sports and dance injuries, so be cognizant if you’re involved in those activities.


The wrist is the most commonly broken bone inside the arm. As with arm breaks, a broken wrist often happens as a person tries to stop a fall. Broken wrists are sometimes called Colles’ fractures and are common in people who swim, bike, and snowboard.

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