It always hurts to break a bone. There also might be swelling and bruising. The injured area may be hard to move and use.
Sometimes the body part looks crooked or different than it did before the injury.
What Do Doctors Do?
Doctors order X-rays if they think a bone is broken.
How Are Broken Bones Treated?
Most broken bones are treated with a cast, splint, or brace. This keeps the broken bone from moving while it heals. Even broken bones that don't line up (called displaced) often will heal straight over time.
Sometimes the displaced bones need to be put back in place before the cast, splint, or brace is put on. This is done through a procedure called a reduction. This is also called "setting the bone."
How Do Bones Heal?
In the first few days after a fracture, the body forms a blood clot around the broken bone to protect it and deliver the cells needed for healing.
Then, an area of healing tissue forms around the broken bone. This is called a callus (say: KAL-uss). It joins the broken bones together. It's soft at first, then gets harder and stronger over the following weeks.
New bone forms in the weeks to months after a break, but full healing can take longer.
How Can I Help My Bone Heal?
To help your bone heal well:
eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of calcium and vitamin D
take care of the cast or splint
rest and/or do any exercises that your doctor recommended
With the right treatment, a broken bone usually heals well. After a few months, you will be back to doing all the things you did before the injury.
Reviewed by: Richard W. Kruse, DO and Susan M. Dubowy, PA-C