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How do Bone Fractures Really Heal?

Fractured bones are relatively common injuries treated by orthopedists. All fractured bones go through a similar healing process that consists of four stages. Depending on the severity of the fracture, the healing process can take a longer time. The following are the basic stages of the process of healing of bone fractures:

  1. The inflammation stage – Bleeding caused by the fracture within the bone and the tissue surrounding it will cause the affected area to swell. This inflammation will likely occur the first day the bone is fractured and can continue for upwards of two to three weeks.

  2. The soft callus stage – After two or three weeks, the pain and inflammation should begin to decrease. Once this happens, the fractured bone will begin to stiffen and new bone will begin forming; however, this new bone won’t be visible by x-ray yet. The soft callus stage will last between four and eight weeks after the fracture occurred.

  3. The hard callus stage – After the soft callus has formed, the new bone will begin to bridge the bone fracture. It’s at this point where the new bone can be spotted via x-rays. It should take between eight and 12 weeks for the hard callus to completely fill the fracture.

  4. The bone remodeling stage – Once the new bone has filled the fracture, the affected area will begin to remodel itself, which means that any deformities caused by the original injury will be corrected. Depending on the severity of these deformities, the bone remodeling stage could end up taking up to a few years to complete.

Although bone fractures typically heal without issue for most patients, there are a few problems that can occur in particularly severe bone fractures. The biggest potential issue is compartment syndrome, in which severe swelling results in not enough blood getting to the muscles in the affected area. This can lead to long-term disability. For more information about related health insurance advice, contact us at the Benefits Store today.


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