How long is bone healing and fracture healing?

This is a typical scenario: one of our patients comes in and their foot is swollen, painful, and it's been like this for about 2 weeks.  There is no history of injury.  We take an x-ray and we were able to identify a stress fracture.  How long does it take for the bone healing before they are able to get back to normal shoes and start transitioning back to normal activity?  This can be very frustrating especially if a special vacation is planned.  Also, what can our patients do to help speed up the process. 

This is a common concern at our clinic.  Any of our patients who come in with a fracture or any of our patients who have surgery that involves a bone cut (osteotomy) or a fusion of the joint, they all will require bone healing.

There is the cast and protected weight bearing status.  Additional help includes nutrition with very specific nutrients and bone stimulation device can also be helpful.

The biggest concern is to make certain that the bone healing occurs as timely and fast as possible.  Typical bone healing is about 8 weeks for an adult.  It takes longer as we age and it's less for children.  It also was slowed by smoking and poor nutrition.  In general it's important to protect the bone from excessive motion or stress to allow for stable bridging of bone healing side.  This may involve partial weight bearing non-weight bearing or even full weight bearing with a cast that could be a cast boot or a fiberglass cast.  This type of protected weight bearing also limits excessive motion to help facilitate the bone healing process. 

Regarding nutrition, it is important to take calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin K-2.  Vitamin K-2 is an interesting vitamin.  This is critical to make certain that calcium goes into the bone, rather than calcifying blood vessels and other parts of the body where it does not belong.  There are other nutrients that can be helpful also.  Because bone healing is such a critical step in the overall recovery process, some of our patients will also take a special supplement called Ortho pro bono.  This is a supplement from the company OrthoMolecular.  It has all the exact nutrients needed for optimal bone healing.  OrthoProBono is taken once in the morning and once at night.  The reason for this is so your body will absorb all the vitamins that OrthoProBono offers.  If you were to take all these vitamins separately, your body would not absorb them effectively.  This is due to the competing nutrients. This can be especially important for our women patients.  Women also tend to have more of a challenge with bone healing than men especially during the aging process.

A bone stimulation device can also be helpful.  These are devices that we prescribe for our patients.  We often recommend these for our patients who are at higher risk for delayed fracture healing.  Insurance may cover the cost of these.   

Our goal is to help our patients that require bone healing to heal as quickly as possible and to do whatever we can to enhance and speed up  the bone healing process.  If you have an injury or need surgery we are happy to help you.  We have patients who come in from all over Washington State and the Northwest.