Crack! Snap! Pop! those are the last things you want to hear in your foot or ankle. Well now that it happened you go to the doctor an x ray is performed and you are diagnosed with a fracture. What is worse is that you are told you can not put weight on your foot and ankle for eight to twelve weeks. How are you going to get around, you are worried about being inactive and gaining weight sitting around. Sometimes if the fracture is displaced or rotated too much you need surgery and insertion of screws or plates and screws to hold the fracture in place. That is fine but the screw and plate does NOT heal the fracture, it only prevents it from moving around. How does the fracture heal? First off the two fragments need to be immobilized, if the parts are moving then it will take longer to heal and will heal in an improper position causing more pain and loss of functionality. Second of all quit smoking if you smoke. studies show smokers take 2 months longer to heal and many of them don’t ever heal the fracture. Nicotine causes the small blood vessels that bring blood to the fracture site to vasoconstrict thus causing a narrowing of the blood vessels and less of the good stuff to get there to help heal your fracture. By that inference even if you are using E- cigarettes It will also delay bone healing ( as well as wound healing if you have one).
so now that you immobilized the fracture and don’t smoke what happens next. The bone heals by a biological process that takes place in three phases. Phase one is the reactive phase. Phase two is the reparative phase. Phase three is the remodeling phase.
Next week we will discuss further what happens during these Phases and what can be done to speed up the process and get you back to running quickly. As always email me with any questions.