If your child breaks a bone, whether it’s a result of climbing a tree or a sports injury, it’s important that you help them understand the process of bone repair. They might not understand why they need to see their doctor or wear a cast for the next few weeks. Here’s a quick explainer to help you do just that.
A bone fracture is defined as a loss of integrity in a bone. This is typically the result of what doctors call “mechanical trauma.” In other words, a fracture. The purpose of bone repair is to restore the integrity and continuity of the bone after that injury. After a fracture occurs, bone repair happens in four distinct stages: hematoma, soft callus, bony callus, and remodeling.
The first stage occurs within 48 hours of a fracture. This is when blood cells and platelets bridge the gap between the broken pieces of bone. The soft callus stage will start shortly after the hematoma stage and last up to two weeks. Bony callus, when the healing bone begins to mineralize, will occur within two to 12 weeks after the initial fracture. Finally, remodeling will occur within about three months. At that point, your child will likely be able to take their cast off.