5 things not to say to a person with a fracture

Just some musing of mine about the types of things people say to you when they see you in a cast or a boot. Most of the time people are really kind to you when they see you have an injury like a broken limb. On the odd occasion though, people just say the wrong thing. Here is a list of things not to say to someone who has a broken limb:


“You should have been more careful!”

If you’re a close friend or relative of the person with the injury, and you know how it happened (especially if it was something silly that got them injured like a Jackass stunt) and you have a great rapport with said person, then it is okay to say this. If you don’t know the person then this is not okay to say. It’s only natural for people to ask what happened, and personally I don’t mind telling people. If the person has not divulged the nature of the how the break occurred, and if you don’t know, don’t say anything like this. Something may have happened out of the persons control and it wouldn’t have mattered if they were being careful or not. An accident is an accident for a reason.

“Does it hurt?”

This is actually not a bad question to ask, but I would maybe frame it a different way. It’s a broken bone, of course it hurts! As I have experienced it however, the pain can be a strange thing. In my case the pain comes and goes. I would rephrase the questions and simply ask “How is the pain today?” This then allows the person to explain to you that maybe it hasn’t been too bad today, but the pain was horrible during the night.

“Well I did (insert lesser ailment here) to myself last week.”

Another thing that is not totally bad to say to a person with a broken limb, it’s more along the lines of how you say it. This is one that I have encountered. I told someone I had a broken ankle, they then proceeded to tell me about how they hurt their ribs the week previous. They didn’t break their ribs, didn’t bruise their ribs, just hurt their ribs. I would have been very sympathetic if they hadn’t said it in such a way that made it seem like the biggest drama the world had ever seen. It was said to me in that way of “Oh yeah I have a headache,” “WELL I HAVE A BRAIN TUMOR!” Think about how you phrase things.

“You can get things done around the house while you’re off work.”

No. Just no. I don’t know about other people who have had broken bones and had to take time off work but being home all the time and not being able to walk properly? No, I have not been able to “do things around the house.” I have to climb the stairs on my ass for Christ sake. If something can be brought to me on the sofa, and I can use the coffee table, then I can do odd jobs, but in terms of doing dishes, putting a wash on, hoovering, it is not possible. Cabin Fever is real people.

“You can watch lots of films and TV!”

This may sound tempting but believe me it gets real old, real fast. It’s not a bad thing to say, but you have to realise that the person may be in the house of several weeks, if not months depending on the injury, and in that time a lot of TV and Films can be watched. When Cabin Fever strikes though, I have found it very frustrating watching TV and have simply turned it off and brooded on the sofa. It’s not a completely bad thing to say, but you have to realise there is a limit to how much you can physically watch.


There you have it, a few of my musing. This article may be the result of Cabin Fever and a lowered emotional state, but I felt this was more constructive than sitting doing nothing. This is my first ever broken bone, and at the beginning I found it a painful novelty. As the weeks have progressed my intrigue has faded and I just wish the damn thing would heal!

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