Despite being the hardest tissue in your body and having good flexibility, bones can get broken for many different reasons. Depending on the severity of your broken bone, your recovery can be short and simple or long and complicated.
Types of Fractures
A broken bone (also known as a fracture) can vary from a hairline crack to a bone that has broken into several pieces. There are many types of fractures, and they are categorized by their characteristics, such as the position of the fragments and the direction of the fracture line. When diagnosing your fracture, your doctor will classify the type of fracture you have in order to plan treatment appropriately.
Fractures are also classified by a combination of general terms used to describe their features, which include:
- Complete fracture – When the bone is completely broken into separate pieces
- Partial or incomplete fracture – When the bone hasn’t completely broken into separate pieces
- Compound or ‘open’ fracture – A complex break where the bone has broken through the skin, or the injury has exposed the fractured bone, putting it at risk of infection.
- Simple or ‘closed’ fracture – The bone does not penetrate through the skin
- Greenstick fracture – An incomplete fracture in a bowed bone (more common in children)
Treatment for a broken bone depends on the type of fracture, the bones that are involved, and whether the bones have moved during the break and are no longer aligned. The main goal of treatment is to align the fractured bones to allow new bone formation to grow properly. This will ensure the fracture heals correctly.
Simple fractures (ones where the bones are not misaligned) may only require casting or splinting treatments, but for more serious and complex fractures, surgery is often required to realign the bones to ensure they heal correctly. Surgical hardware, including screws and plates, may be required to hold the fractured bones together during the healing process. If a bone has been severely damaged or crushed, a bone graft may be required to fill the gaps.
Recovery time from a fracture is different for everyone, and your doctor will let you know what to expect. On average, it takes around 6-8 weeks for a typical fracture to heal. For fractures requiring complex surgery, recovery can take longer. Recovery time largely depends on the type and severity of the break, your age, and your general health.
To ensure a successful recovery, your doctor will limit your activity to give the bone adequate healing time. Returning to normal activities too soon can put stress on the fractured bone and delay healing. It can also cause further damage and re-injury to the bones which may lead to additional surgery. Pain symptoms will usually cease before your fracture has completely healed. To ensure a successful recovery, it is important you remember to:
- Follow your doctor’s instructions and recommendations
- Eat a healthy diet and take certain vitamins and minerals that accelerate the healing process
- Rest the broken bone as much as you can
- Stop smoking as it can prolong your recovery
Physical or occupational therapy often follows fracture surgery or casting, which can help to ease stiffness, build up muscle strength, and break down scar tissue. Your therapist will work with you to gradually regain movement, increase strength, and improve flexibility, which may have decreased while your bone or joint was immobile. Physical therapy may also be recommended to reduce future injuries.
Fracture Care With Movement Orthopedics
If you require urgent care for a fracture or other trauma, turn to the experts at Movement Orthopedics. We use advanced, on-site imaging tools to determine the type and severity of your fracture or injury, and we will employ a personalized course of treatment to ensure you have a successful recovery.
Call us today at (586) 436-3785 or request an appointment online. We look forward to serving you!