You can sustain a fracture in several ways. Sometimes, it’s obvious, like falling or experiencing some form of trauma. Other times, a fracture can be as small as a tiny crack in your bone from repetitive stress, overuse, or weakening bone tissue.
No matter what’s behind your fracture, the one thing they all have in common is needing immediate medical attention. Dr. Edward Dupay, Jr. at Orthopedic Associates of Southwest Florida offers these insights into fractures and the benefits of getting treatment fast.
It’s safe to assume that your first stop would be the emergency room or our office if your broken bone is obvious, especially if you’re in agony, it pokes through your skin, or you have a deformity in the affected area. However, not all fractures share these symptoms.
Common signs of a broken bone include:
It’s also common to feel dizzy, have pain, or be unable to bear weight, but some small breaks can be less noticeable. To avoid problems down the road, you should come in to see us as early in the healing process as possible so that Dr. Dupay can still manipulate the area while examining it.
A bone undergoes three stages during the healing process.
This phase typically begins within 48 hours of your fracture. During this time, torn blood vessels release blood that starts clotting and forming fracture hematomas over the broken ends of the bones. This process typically lasts one week and disrupts blood flow to the bone, causing some bone cells in the area to die.
Within the first few days of your fracture, your body starts producing cartilage and tissue in and around the break site. This tissue creates a soft covering, or callus, at the ends of your broken bones and continues growing until the two pieces join. Calluses help stabilize your fracture.
Over the next few weeks, this initial callus made of tissue gets replaced by a harder, bony callus.
During the last stage in the process, your body replaces spongy areas of healing bone with solid bone.
On average, it takes a bone between 6-8 weeks for a bone fracture to heal. However, this can vary depending on the location, type, and severity of your break, as well as your overall health. It can also take longer for fractures to heal in older adults.
When you delay getting help for fracture, you run the risk of your bone healing in the wrong position. This not only impacts anatomical function, but it can also increase your chances of having long-term pain, weakness, or reduced mobility in the area.
And, unfortunately, the complications that can develop from a poorly treated fracture can go far beyond the alignment itself. Waiting to treat a broken bone can also put you at risk of:
Plus, if you ignore fractures from repetitive stress, overuse, or weakening bones, your chances of these breaks worsening or recurring in the future increase.
If you think you have a fracture, don’t wait to schedule an appointment. Contact our office in Fort Myers, Florida, by calling 239-256-8738 or requesting an appointment online today.