Will My Fracture Heal on Its Own?

Will My Fracture Heal on Its Own?

There are several types of bone fractures, from simple hairline fractures to complete breaks. How and where your bone breaks determine the treatment you need to aid the healing process.

At Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, our team, led by Dr. Bryan King, specializes in treating all kinds of fractures. Here, we discuss the bone healing process and the treatments for various types of fractures.

How bones heal

When you break a bone, your body goes into instant healing mode. It immediately sends blood to the fracture site to form a clot. This enables new bone cells to develop on the sides of the fracture line and fill in the breach as it moves toward the center of the break. 

Eventually, the “threads” of the new bone tissue meet in the middle and “knit” together, and the bone is healed. This can take from a few months to a year. 

So, the answer to the central question of this blog is yes, fractured bones heal on their own. However, whether they heal properly or need assistance is another issue altogether.

Perfect conditions for self-healing bones

Stress fractures, greenstick fractures, oblique fractures, and transverse fractures are good candidates for self-healing because the parts of the broken bone remain connected or aren’t displaced. 

However, don’t take that to mean you don’t need medical attention. You may need to keep your bone immobile with a cast or splint during the healing process, or keep your weight off the limb using crutches to ensure proper healing. 

Your healing fracture also needs the right nutrients to heal well. To assist the process, increase the amount of calcium-rich foods in your diet, as deficiencies can delay healing.

Fractures that don’t heal well on their own

Complex fractures that crush your bones, break them into multiple pieces, cause spiral breaks, or separate the two sides of the break may require surgical intervention. This may include realigning and resetting the pieces, as well as the placement of surgical hardware to reattach and stabilize the pieces. 

Why you should always seek medical attention for a fracture

While some fractures need minimal medical assistance, seeking care for an accurate diagnosis is always important. 

After evaluating your fracture and reviewing diagnostic imaging of your bones, Dr. King may determine that your bone will heal nicely on its own, or he may recommend assistive devices to ensure proper healing.

If you ignore this step, you could end up with a serious complication called a malunion, a deformity that develops when the two bone ends don’t line up correctly. Symptoms of a malunion include:

In most cases, the treatment for malunion is surgery. 

In addition to malunion, a fracture left to its own devices can lead to other issues, such as infection and poor blood flow, which can lead to bone and tissue death. 

If you have a fracture and you’ve been hoping it will heal on its own, come see Dr. King to find out what kind of fracture it is and how to treat it properly, so you can avoid serious complications. Call us today to schedule a consultation.

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