Flexion fractures

These include ‘compression’ and ‘burst’ fractures:

  • A compression fracture is where the front (anterior) of the vertebra is broken and collapses while the back (posterior) does not. It’s usually the result of the spine being forced forward and down, for example in a car accident or during sports including horse riding, skiing and rugby
  • A burst fracture is often caused by falling from a height where both the front and back of the vertebra is shattered and, in some cases, may cause a serious injury to the spinal cord


Non-operative treatment: many flexion fractures don’t need surgery. You may be given a brace to limit your movement for up to three months and can then follow a targeted rehabilitation programme to gradually increase your activity.

Surgery: if your specialist decides that your fracture is unstable you may need fusion surgery to stabilise the fracture with metal screws and rods.

Important: This information is only a guideline to help you understand your treatment and what to expect. Everyone is different and your rehabilitation may be quicker or slower than other people’s. Please contact us for advice if you’re worried about any aspect of your health or recovery.