Bones that are fractured can have different times to heal. Bone fracture healing time also depends on the type of bone that is broken, the person’s age, and how the bone was broken. People who have a bone degenerating disorder like osteoporosis and bone cancer also have far longer healing time with their broken bones. Most of the time, their fractures may even require surgery. Generally, a small broken bone with a simple fracture may take only about four weeks to heal and healing is much faster on children. For young healthy people, a fractured finger or a wrist bone may only take six weeks and the fractured part can be normal again. However, for larger bones such as thigh bones or arm bones, these bones may take longer time to heal because of the extent of fracture that can involve damage to the ligaments, tendons, and nerves. For an average healthy adult, duration of six weeks to three months is given for their large bone to heal if there are no complications.
Causes of Bone Injuries
Fractures can be caused by many factors such as from vehicular accidents, fall from heights, from extreme sports or from bone degenerating diseases. Children usually have fractures because of their tendency to climb on high areas and fall accidents from their vehicles. Younger adults tend to have accidents from vehicular accidents, sports related accidents and other adventurous activities wherein they constantly put their bodies at risk. The adults, on the other hand, also get their bone injuries from almost the same activities and the bone condition brought about by aging which can put risk on their bone structures.
Healing Bone Fractures:
Since there are various ways on how fractures develop, different types of fractures also exist. Simple and incomplete fractures can be treated by means of bone reductions and usually this does not require surgery but only the use of a cast or sling. Compound fractures are often the result of high impact collision accidents, which render the bones to have multiple fractures. These types of fractures require surgery and reconnecting and realigning of the bones is required. Metal wires, pins and plates will be used to reattach displaced bones. Bone fracture healing can take much longer for compound fractures and the healing time can last for months or even a year.
For children, bone fracture healing time is much shorter than the adults even if they can also suffer the same fractures like compound fractures. This is because as the child grows, his bone continues to develop, regenerate, and grow so any fracture can be easily overcome as long as it is treatable through medical means.
Rehabilitation or rehab is must.
Phases of Healing
Healing can have its many phases before finally arriving to the full recovery of the fractured bones. These phases are the following:
• Inflammatory phase. Right after the fracture occurs there will be the formation of blood clot in the fractured site which explains the hematoma or bruising. This is very significant because the body is making its own process of protecting the fractured bones and the wound with antibodies that are present in the blood.
• Granulation tissue formation. Macrophages that are in the blood will congregate to the fractured bone and there will be the granulation of bone tissue.
• Callus formation. Soft cartilage will begin to form and these will cover the broken part of the bone. In just few days, this cartilage will be replaced by harder cartilage.
• Lamellar bone deposition. The cartilage will be replaced by the deposition of bone calcium. The fractured site is now completely covered with newly formed bone deposit.
• Bone remodeling. Since the fractured bone is now woven with new bone formation, the bone starts to remodel itself by getting back to its original structure and form.
Fracture Healing Time
According to the X-rays, MRI and CT scan results, bone fracture healing time can take in different duration. Going into the details, the following will specify the duration of healing time.
• During the granulation stage, there will be formation of soft cartilage and this may happen 2 and 3 weeks after the injury.
• On the lamellar bone deposition phase, the formation of hard cartilage will happen at about 4 to 8 weeks after the injury.
• The bone remodeling phase starts between 8 to 12 weeks after injury has happened. The bone will slowly remodel the bone back to its original form.
Factors Affecting Healing Time for Fractures
Osteoporosis is one of the great causes of bone fracture that inevitably can alter the duration of healing of the bones. In some cases, there are bones that may go beyond repair and the patient may suffer from very bad posture, permanent limping, or disability of the limb, paralysis, or even death. This is why this condition has been one of the greatest concerns among bone surgeons because surgery for osteoporotic people often spells problems because there is the risk of injuring other bones once internal fixation is done.
Another condition that is not very popular but almost has the same manifestations as osteoporosis is the osteo imperfecta syndrome. Doctors also call it brittle bone syndrome. This bone condition is most common on children when their growth is at its peak. Because their bones are increasing in growth rapidly, the structures of their bones become weaker so even with slightest impact, growing children can sustain bone injuries. Although children can easily recuperate from bone injury, a child that is prone to accidents must be closely monitored because frequently fractured bones can also alter the child’s bone development.