How Do Broken Bones Heal?

Mar 9, 2019

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It’s estimated that there are nearly 15 million human bones broken each year. In fact, experts hypothesize that the average person will fracture at least two bones during the course of their life. Whether you break your arm or a leg, a fracture is painful and always warrants a trip to one of the many priority medical centers in Suffolk County, NY. Depending on the cause and severity of the break, you might need to wear a cast for an extended period of time. While it’s true that having your arm in a cast helps you to keep your broken limb stable, there’s a whole lot more going on underneath the plaster.

The Initial Break

A broken bone can result from any number of activities. For some, it occurs due to a sports related injury. Others break bones when they fall. No matter what the cause is, your body has an immediate response to the fracture. Each bone in the body is filled with blood vessels. When a break occurs, those blood vessels break. The flowing blood pools around the fractured bone and creates what’s known as a hematoma. This mass of clotted blood creates a plug that fills in the gap left by the fracture.

The Immune System’s Role

Following the break, your immune system leaps into action. You may notice that the tissue around your broken bone begins to swell shortly after the fracture occurs. This is your immune system reacting to the break. Inflammation and swelling are important parts of the healing process. As the swelling begins, tissue, bone marrow, and blood begin to migrate to the scene of the incident. The cells then begin to form bone and cartilage.

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New Bone Formations

Your body wastes no time trying to heal a fractured limb. It begins to produce new areas of bone starting on the edge of the fracture. To fill in the empty space, your body’s cells will also attempt to produce soft cartilage. After about eight days, the cartilage is replaced with a callus that closely resembles a bone. While strong, the callus only remains intact for three to four weeks after the injury. Once the callus has been removed, new, mature bone will have grown in the gap, adding protection to the fracture. After six to eight weeks, the cast may be removed as the bone should be fully healed by this point.

If you suspect you’ve fractured a limb, it’s always a good idea to visit one of the medical centers in Suffolk, NY. With the help of the experts, your bone will heal properly in no time. For more information on healing broken bones and more, contact Peconic Bay Medical Center today.