When you break a bone, it creates a number of difficulties in your life. You’re likely going to miss some work, and you might even need surgery to fix the fracture. Because they’re unexpected, you have to adapt quickly to the changes to your life for the next few months. It’s important to understand what to expect as your fracture heals.
At the Spine and Orthopedic Center of New Mexico, our orthopedic team offers expert fracture care services. If you find yourself with a broken bone, please call our Orthopedic Urgent Care to get you treated as quickly as possible and on the road to recovery.
When you break a bone, the first step is to get an X-ray to verify the fracture and determine if it caused any other damage to the bone or tissues. For more complex fractures, you may need an MRI to assess damage to the tendons, ligaments, and soft tissues around the injured bone.
Once our team determines the severity of the fracture,you will be offered several forms of treatment to help the bone heal. For minor fractures, the bone will be reset and your limb will be placed in a cast or splint to keep the bone stabilized as it heals.
During this time, you can use over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to ease the pain and swelling. In some cases, our team may prescribe pain medications for the first few days after the fracture.
For more severe types of fractures, where the bone is in pieces or unable to be set in the office, you may need surgical repair of the bone.
To stabilize the broken bone, you may need surgical plates, screws, or rods to pull the broken pieces together. This allows the bone to heal in a normal position over the next several months. After surgery, you wear a cast or splint.
During the first few days after your fracture occurs, you can expect significant swelling and pain, which you need to stay ahead of with medications.
The way your life changes after a fracture is highly dependent on where the fracture is located. However, most broken bones take about 6 to 12 weeks to heal, and during this time, it’s important that you learn how to adjust. Some tips to help include:
If you’ve suffered a broken leg, hip, or spine, it’s important that you make your home safe while you heal. This includes decluttering and moving tripping hazards out of the way. You may also want to move large furniture to create a passageway for you to get around. Always keep a phone handy in case of a fall or injury while you’re healing.
It’s hard to wait around and put your life on hold as your bone heals. While it can be tempting to push the limits, try your best to be patient while you heal. It may be hard to get dressed or do normal everyday tasks, but take your time. Rushing your recovery can lead to complications.
One of the best things you can do while your bone is healing is to ask for help from family and friends. This includes tasks like grocery shopping or getting a ride to your follow-up appointment. Pushing yourself too hard instead of asking for help can delay your recovery.
Even after your bone heals, you may not be able to do everything you could before. A physical therapist helps you increase your strength and flexibility after a broken bone. It may take months for you to regain the strength to be able to do the activities you’re used to.
Although it’s hard to wait around while your bone heals, know that it won’t take forever. Your life is going to change for a few months, but when your bone heals, you should be able to get back to most of your normal activities.
If you have a broken bone that needs treatment, don’t hesitate to call our office at 575-623-9101 or book an appointment online using our convenient scheduling tool.