Bone fractures are among the most common injuries in a motor vehicle accident. Depending on the type and severity of the break, recovery can take months to years.
Understanding the bone healing process, however, can help you understand your personal recovery.
1. Immediately following the fracture
Your healing process begins as soon as the fracture occurs. The blood vessels that ruptured during the break pool around the bone and form a temporary frame for healing. Additionally, the fracture triggers your immune system to remove damaged tissues.
2. The first week after the fracture
Around day five, your body begins to release a substance called vascular endothelial growth factor. VGEF helps your body create a cartilage sleeve around the fracture to protect and form a base for further bone remodeling. By day 11, you should also have a layer of woven bone forming over the injury site.
3. The first month following the fracture
Over time, the cartilage will become bone. As the cartilage becomes bone, it forms a bony callous. The purpose of the callous is to bridge the gap between your fracture to mend the bone permanently.
4. Months and years following the fracture
Your bone can take months to years to heal completely or for the bone to remodel. Bone begins to form at the edge of the callus and in the center. Bone remodeling is the longest phase but the result should be a bone with similar strength and shape to your pre-injury state.
Unfortunately, the healing process does not always go according to plan and in some cases, your fractures result in permanent changes to your ability to function.