A bone fracture may seem like a minor injury in comparison to other possible injuries that can occur in car accidents and other types of traumatic accidents. Although a bone fracture can be minor in some instances, there are also bone fractures that are more severe. The severity of a bone fracture depends on how the bone breaks and whether the break is clean. It also depends on whether the bone breaks in multiple places.

There are various methods doctors can use for healing a bone fracture and a doctor will assess what type of treatment is necessary based on the severity of the fracture. It’s important to treat a bone fracture correctly so complications such as blood clots in nearby blood vessels, infections, nerve damage, joint swelling, and crooked healing of the bone are avoided.

Cast

If the bone can be repositioned by the doctor, a traditional cast may be all that’s needed to immobilize the fractured bone while it heals. A bone fracture in the leg, foot, wrist, or arm that’s clean and in one place can often be healed with a traditional cast. 

Bracing

After several weeks with a traditional cast, a doctor may transition a patient to a brace or a functional cast which allows partial movement of the fractured limb and controlled movement of nearby joints. A brace or functional cast is only used when a doctor is confident the fracture has healed enough to allow movement without further damage to the area. 

Surgical Procedures

With more severe bone fractures, surgical procedures may be required to repair damage to the bone. In open reduction surgery, internal fixation includes attaching metal screws or plates to the bone that hold the bone together. External fixation includes placing screws or plates on the outside of the limb after surgery until the bone heals.  

Stages of Bone Healing

There are three stages of bone healing, including the inflammatory phase, the repairing phase, and the bone remodeling phase. It’s important for each phase to run its course fully before a bone fracture can heal.

Bone fractures may seem minor, but as you can see, some will result in an extensive recovery process and significant medical bills. If you’ve suffered a bone fracture after an accident, you should hold the liable party in your accident accountable so that you’re not responsible for the financial burden that follows.