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Broken Bones - How Do They Heal?

Written and reviewed by
MS - Orthopaedics, MBBS
Orthopedist, Delhi  •  19 years experience
Broken Bones - How Do They Heal?

A bone may break due to several reasons starting from a fall or an injury or a condition like osteoporosis that makes the bones brittle and leaves them susceptible to fractures. The fracture usually takes a few weeks to get fixed as the broken bones grow back together with the help of various forms of treatment including a plaster and sling applied by the orthopaedic specialist or general physician. Find out more about how bones heal with this article.

Types of fracture: Before we get to the subject of how bones heal, it is important to understand the various kinds of fractures recognised by doctors. The first kind is the complete fracture where the bone breaks into two distinct parts. The next kind is the greenstick fracture or hairline fracture where there is simply a crack on one side of the bone due to pressure. Further, there is the single fracture which occurs where there is breakage of the bone only in one place. A bowing fracture may occur when the bones bend instead of breaking completely. This kind of fracture is pretty common for children. The comminuted fracture happens when the bone is crushed or broken in many places. And finally, the open fracture is one where the bone ends up protruding from the skin.

Treatment: Once you have broken a bone, the doctor will conduct an X ray which will help in understanding the type of fracture and the extent of the damage caused. The doctor will then apply a cast and plaster that will help in bringing the bone back to its normal position so that it grows back with the main bone. In case the bone has broken into various parts or there is a complete fracture, then the doctor may even insert metal pins.

  1. Natural healers: Bones are known as natural healers that can heal with the process of new cells and vessel production which rebuilds the bone by covering the broken ends and closing the gap caused due to the damage or the crack.
  2. Clot: Once a bone has broken, a blood clot or a callus forms in the surrounding region, which kind of acts towards sealing the area.
  3. Threads: Once these clots have formed, the new threads of the bone cells begin to grow slowly from the ends of the broken bones. This will grow on both sides of the affected and fractured bones, almost as if drawing a line from one broken end to another.
  4. Absorption: Finally, the callus will be absorbed by the new cell and the gap will close.

See a doctor is you are experiencing any noticeable symptoms that may point towards bone fractures. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Orthopedist.

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