Broken bones take a varying amount of time to heal, mostly depending upon the type of bone broken, the age of the person, and the way in which the bone is broken. Additionally, diseases that degenerates bone tissue like osteoporosis, may cause one to have far longer healing times for broken bones. As well one may need more complicated treatment like surgery.
In general, small broken bones with simple fractures take about four weeks to heal in small children. In teenagers and adults, small bones — like a finger or wrist bone — with a simple fracture, will take about six weeks to heal. Larger broken bones, for example the bones in the thigh, would take a great deal longer to heal, usually six weeks to three months in the average healthy adult.
Compound fractures often require surgical realignment of the bones so that as they heal, they rejoin each other properly. Improper alignment can mean that healing causes deformity of the bone, and it may not be considered as ever completely healed. In some cases, this poor alignment may necessitate surgery at a later date, where the bone is re-broken, and then reset to heal appropriately.
Broken bones in children and healthy adults tend to heal well, with few complications. Provided the patient follows all guidelines and wears a cast for the appropriate amount of time, healing tends to occur in a relatively short time.
However, those with osteoporosis are at great risk when they break some of the major bones, like the pelvis or hipbones. Broken bones in those with osteoporosis can be great cause for concern since the disease impairs the bone’s abilities to mend, and bones may break again if they are gravely fragile. Surgery to repair broken bones in people with osteoporosis is often problematic because of the risk of harming other bones during the process.
Another disease that can cause problems with healing is osteo imperfecta or brittle bone syndrome. This condition tends to be most common in children during growth spurts, and they quite easily break bones with even the slightest of injuries. Though they have the ability to produce new bone tissue, reinjury to broken bones may occur because a child’s bones can break so easily. A child with brittle bone syndrome who has a broken bone must be carefully monitored and protected from activities that could cause another break.