Elderly people are particularly susceptible to broken bones because as bones age, they lose the ability to resist the formation and growth of cracks that can lead to bone breaks because they cannot withstand as much pressure as younger bones. Unfortunately, as we age, our bodies ability to heal fractures is compromised.
Combined with the trauma of a fracture and surgery, an existing health condition may significantly increase the risk of death. Death after a hip fracture may also be related to additional complications of the fracture , such as infections, internal bleeding, stroke or heart failure.
The most common fractures in older adults are vertebral fracture from compression or trauma , followed by hip and distal radius fractures. (See Table 2.) One in two women and one in five men will suffer from an osteoporotic fragility fracture , which is defined as any low-energy trauma fracture.
Additionally, many reports demonstrate a higher rate of bone fracture, and these are associated with increased morbidity and mortality [3–5]. A decline in healing potential is observed in the elderly , and this may result in increased rates of delayed healing or nonunions .
When a bone fracture is untreated , it can result in either a nonunion or a delayed union. In the former case, the bone doesn’t heal at all, which means that it will remain broken . As a result, swelling, tenderness, and pain will continue to worsen over time.
“People can die after a fall for many reasons, which may include head trauma, internal bleeding and complications of a bone fracture,” he said. “Fractures can lead to hospitalization, immobility in bed and respiratory or other infections, which can be fatal.” Several steps can be taken to reduce the risk, Pahor said.
Most people would probably say the thigh bone , pelvis, or maybe the jaw. Occupational therapists see things differently. According to Courtney Engel, OTR/L, her years of experience have proven that “The elbow bones are the worst bones to break in the whole body .”
Traditional conservative treatment includes bed rest, pain control, and physical therapy. Interventional procedures such as vertebroplasty can be considered in those patients who do not respond to initial treatment .
Most falls occur on the flat; falls on the stairs or in the bathroom are relatively rare. Old women tend to fall in the house, old men in the garden. In `care homes’, many falls occur on the way to or from the toilet. Only one in a hundred falls results in a hip fracture, but one-fifth cause serious injury.
Broken bones are painful for a variety of reasons: The nerve endings that surround bones contain pain fiber. These fibers may become irritated when the bone is broken or bruised. Broken bones bleed, and the blood and associated swelling (edema) causes pain .
Symptoms of a fracture that is not healing normally include tenderness, swelling, and an aching pain that may be felt deep within the affected bone . Often, the bone isn’t strong enough to bear weight, and you may not be able to use the affected body part until the bone heals.
After a fracture , your bone needs to rebuild. A healthy, well-balanced diet rich in key nutrients can help speed that up. Vitamin D. This vitamin should be a part of your diet to help your fracture heal . Iron.
The following foods can help heal broken bones faster: 1- Dairy. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are a good source of vitamin D and calcium, two key nutrients that your body requires for bone strength and growth. 2- Soy Milk. 3- Pumpkin Seeds. 4- Bell Peppers. 5- Black Beans. 6- Meat. 7- Sardines. 8- Fatty Fish.
Doctors can usually recognize most fractures by examining the injury and taking X-rays . Sometimes an X-ray will not show a fracture .
Because of the disruption of blood flow to the bone , some bone cells around the fracture die. This inflammatory stage ends approximately one week after the fracture . The repairing or reparative phase begins within the first few days after the bone fracture and lasts for about 2 – 3 weeks .
How Long Does a Fracture Take to Heal ? Most fractures heal in 6-8 weeks, but this varies tremendously from bone to bone and in each person based on many of the factors discussed above. Hand and wrist fractures often heal in 4-6 weeks whereas a tibia fracture may take 20 weeks or more.