When a bone is broken it needs to be put back into its proper position and then time needs to be allowed for the bone to heal itself.
All bones go through the exact same healing process, even if it was cut in a surgery or broken in an injury.
There are three stages in the healing process that overlaps with one another; they are inflammation, bone production and bone remodeling.
As soon as the bone is broken, the inflammation begins, and it last for several days. A bone fracture results in bleeding, which leads to inflammation and blood clotting at the site where the fracture occurred.
This process provides structural stability and makes way for new bone to be produced.
When the clotted blood is replaced with fibrous tissue and cartilage, this is when the production phase begins. The cartilage is replaced with hard bone in this phase. The bone remodeling phase, which is the final one in the healing of the injury, can last several months.
The bone continues forming and it becomes compact, returning to its shape prior to the injury.
In this phase, blood circulation improves in the area.
Once the bone has healed enough, activities such as standing and walking, especially if it is a broken leg bone, will encourage the remodeling process.
It all depends on how severe the injury is, but most bones can heal in a matter of six to eight weeks. Children’s bones heal faster than adult bones.
Often, doctors will recommend a special diet in order to help the process along. Usually patients are recommended to stop smoking and to decrease their glucose intake.
A major part of successful bone healing is immobilization, because any and all movement of the bone fragments can slow down the healing process. In more serious cases, the surgeon will use screw, wires or plates to keep the bones in place, but in less serious cases, a cast will do just fine.
Once the bone has healed, rehabilitation is also important. Exercise programs for regaining strength and balance are encouraged.
There are things that can stunt the process of healing. Smoking, as mentioned earlier, decreases circulation. Medical conditions such as diabetes and hormone-related problems can also slow down the process. Infections will also slow down healing, as well as poor nutrition and an impaired metabolism.
It is best to consult a doctor or nutritionist regarding what the optimal diet is to help promote a quicker healing of the broken bone.