The normal healing time of a fracture varies from 4 weeks to more than 16 weeks depending on the location, the mechanism of injury, and the degree of soft tissue disruption. In addition, there are a number of intrinsic and extrinsic host factors which are associated with delayed union .
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 an older adult suffers a bone fracture, the body directs more resources toward the break, but the bone itself is already involved in a losing cycle of bone removal and replacement, with more bone being removed than being replaced.
Dealing with a broken bone Even if you do break a bone, remember that plenty of older adults do make a full recovery and get back to their normal lives.
The femur — your thigh bone — is the largest and strongest bone in your body. When the femur breaks, it takes a long time to heal.
Signs Your Broken Bone Is Healing
There are three stages of bone healing: the inflammatory, reparative, and remodeling stages.
The most common fractures in older adults are vertebral fracture from compression or trauma, followed by hip and distal radius fractures.
Full recovery can take months or years. It can take about 12 weeks for an arm fracture to heal completely. During this time, you may be restricted from some movements. Lifting, pushing and pulling may be off limits. Getting full strength, motion and use back can take up to two years for a fracture that needed surgery.
Age-related differences in wound healing have been clearly documented. Although the elderly can heal most wounds, they have a slower healing process, and all phases of wound healing are affected. The inflammatory response is decreased or delayed, as is the proliferative response.
Conclusion: Surgery is the treatment of choice for patients aged 90 years and older with proximal femoral fracture. However, they have a lower rate of regaining pre- injury walking ability and a higher in-hospital death rate than younger patients.
The bone also needs a steady blood supply. Blood brings oxygen, healing cells and growth factors to the bone to allow it to heal. If a fractured bone is left unstable or lacks blood supply, it can lead to a nonunion.
Factors that influence fracture healing are both local and systemic; the former include particularly the degree of local trauma and bone loss, the type of bone affected, the degree of immobilization and local pathologic conditions; the latter include age, hormones, local stress and electric currents.
In some cases, they may cause your body to pull nutrients from the bones. Foods to avoid include foods high in sugar or salt, red meat, alcohol and caffeine. It is best to abstain from alcohol while healing a broken bone. Patients, who smoke, have a much longer average time to healing.
A wide variety of factors can slow down the healing process. These include: Movement of the bone fragments; weightbearing too soon. Smoking, which constricts the blood vessels and decreases circulation.
There’s no difference between a fracture and a break. A fracture is any loss of continuity of the bone. Anytime the bone loses integrity—whether it’s a hairline crack barely recognizable on an X-ray or the shattering of bone into a dozen pieces—it’s considered a fracture.