Written By: Rikin Morzaria
Fractures are a common injury that do not usually have long-term symptoms; with the proper treatment, the majority of breaks heal quickly and easily. A broken bone usually takes four to eight weeks to heal, depending on the health and age of the patient, and the location and severity of the injury. However, there are unfortunately some fractures that can have a long-term impact on your body and your life. Usually, the length of time that the break takes to heal is dependent on the type of fracture experienced and the amount of damage that has been done to the bone, and the surrounding ligaments and muscles. Here are five long-term effects of bone fractures.
1. Nerve damage
Nerve damage can occur when a bone is seriously damaged. Nerves can be stretched, crushed, and bruised. Often, this is a result of blunt force trauma. Nerve damage will typically heal on its own but can take anywhere from weeks, to months, to years, depending on the degree of damage done. Unfortunately, some nerve damage will never heal completely, causing a lifelong impact. Nerves can also be torn. This type of damage can result from sharp bone fragments contacting the nerves after a break and is most likely to happen when the skin is torn.
2. Decreased strength and increased discomfort
Decreased strength around the site of a fracture is common and can have a lasting impact on your health. For example, if you have broken your ankle, you may find that this area isn’t as strong as it once was and you cannot move it, walk or jump as you used to. You may also experience discomfort in the area where a fracture has occurred, even after it has healed completely.
3. Joint problems
Although fractures are an injury to the bone, the surrounding muscles, joints, and ligaments can also become damaged when a break occurs. These injuries damage the cartilage at the ends of the bone, known as the joint or joint surfaces. Normally, this area is smooth, but when the cartilage is damaged, the area of scars, which can cause osteoarthritis. As a result, you may experience stiffness in your joints, as well as limited range of motion. Joint pain in the shoulders, elbows and knees are most commonly experienced.
4. Anxiety and depression
Any serious physical injury can cause serious psychological trauma as well. Depending on the severity of the fracture and the way it has impacted your life, you may experience a range of psychological conditions. These can include depression, anxiety, stress and nightmares. If these are not addressed properly and regarded as a serious concern, mental and emotional symptoms can have a major impact on your overall health.
5. Inability to participate in certain activities
Depending on the nature and severity of the fracture, it may be difficult to participate in the same physical activities that you did before the injury. This isn’t always certain, and it depends on the amount of damage that was done to the surrounding areas. However, there is a possibility that it could have a long-term impact on your life.
Fractures are often disregarded as minor injuries that heal easily. However, sometimes they are serious and traumatic and can have a long-term influence on your health and wellbeing. With therapy and proper treatment, you can decrease the possibility of long-term complications of a fracture.