How Broken Bones Can Heal Faster

Ankle osteoarthritis is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the ankle joint. Traditional treatments like joint fusion can limit mobility. An alternative procedure called ankle distraction arthroplasty has been gaining some traction, but how well does it hold up in the long term? 

A recent study by Greenfield et al. (2019) investigated this very question. They conducted a survival analysis of ankle distraction arthroplasty for ankle osteoarthritis. Their findings suggest that this procedure may be a viable option for some patients. 

Key takeaways from the study: 

  • Ankle distraction arthroplasty showed promising results, with an 84% survival rate at 5 years. This is better than some previously reported outcomes. 
  • The study also identified factors that can influence the success of the procedure. Avascular necrosis of the talus (bone death) was associated with a lower survival rate. Additionally, sex may play a role, with the study suggesting potential gender differences in long-term outcomes. 

What this means for patients: 

Ankle distraction arthroplasty offers a potential option for preserving joint mobility in patients with ankle osteoarthritis. This study provides valuable data for surgeons and patients to consider when making treatment decisions. 

Important to note: 

  • This was a retrospective study, meaning researchers analyzed past data. More robust research designs are needed to confirm these findings. 
  • The study involved a relatively small group of patients. Larger studies are necessary to draw more definitive conclusions. 

Overall, this research suggests that ankle distraction arthroplasty may be a valuable tool for treating ankle osteoarthritis. However, more research is needed to solidify its place as a standard treatment option. 

ReferenceGreenfield, S., Matta, K. M., McCoy, T. H., Rozbruch, S. R., & Fragomen, A. (2019). Ankle distraction arthroplasty for ankle osteoarthritis: a survival analysis. Strategies in trauma and limb reconstruction, 14(2), 65. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7376580/#:~:text=In%20a%20significantly%20larger%20series,and%2037%25%20within%205%20years

Disclaimer:

This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional to discuss your individual treatment options.
 

Image Credit: Healthwire 

“To ensure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.” – William Londen

Article Authors: Gordon Slater| Tandose Sambo 

Our bones have the amazing ability to support our bodies in a multitude of ways. Stress, strain or sudden impact can cause bones to break. Bones are living mechanisms and have the ability to heal. Children usually recover from broken bones faster than adults. As the mechanisms of bone healing are understood, full recovery in both adults and children can be achieved. 

What are the stages of bone healing? 

There are three primary stages of bone healing. These are the inflammatory, reparative and remodelling stages. The three phases occur across a series of weeks. The body is always aware of changes to its normal state, and starts the healing process by signalling for special cells to cause inflammation to the injured site. 

By inducing inflammation, the patient will reduce the use of the injured site because it will be so painful. A hematoma will then be formed around the injured site, and begin the healing process. 

Once the bone is set in place, a soft callus will develop within a week to replace the hematoma. This is the beginning of the formation of new bones. Within a few weeks, the soft callus will harden and become strong enough for normal operation. 

Bone fully restores after approximately six weeks of healing. The hard callus then forms part of the bone structure and fully integrates into the pre-existing bone in a seamless fashion. 

How can bone healing be accelerated? 

Breaking a bone can result in a reduction in mobility for a few weeks or months. Patients will have to adjust to a new routine that will require them to facilitate the healing of one part of the body, and overcompensation of the other parts of the body. Management of pain and swelling will be critical during this time. The patient’s mindset during this time of healing will be important. We get used to our routines, and some people may not enjoy being out of commission for a few weeks. 

Bone healing must be allowed to take its natural course. Patience will be key to achieving full recovery, though there will be ways that patients will seek that can help to speed up the process. Understanding your body will be key to successful recovery. Healthy lifestyle habits will make the process more enjoyable. Some of the best ways to enhance bone healing include: 

  1. Ensuring that the two bone fragments are aligned with each other. Ensure that your doctor inspects, and resets the bones. Use all the required equipment that will ensure that the bones are stationary and supported. Bones will thrive best in an environment of stability. 
  2. Ensure that your diet is balanced. Nutrition is key to cell growth and regeneration. By eating well and resting, you provide an environment that will ensure that the best biological healing mechanisms are activated. Critical vitamins, minerals and proteins that are supplied to the body, will ensure optimum bone regeneration. 
  3. Release lifestyle habits that don’t serve you. Smoking is found to have adverse effects on bone health. Avoid it where you can, in order to ensure the formation of healthy bone cells. 

Trust in your body’s ability to heal, via providing the right conditions for restoration. 

Article References: 

[1] Houston Methodist: https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2021/feb/how-to-heal-bones-faster/

[2] Kid Health

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Dr. Gordon Slater

Dr. Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions.

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Dr Gordon Slater is a highly-skilled surgeon specialising in foot and ankle conditions and sports injuries. Dr Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions. MIS  has many advantages including shorter operating times, reduced post-operative pain, reduced risk of infection, minimal scarring and better cosmetic outcomes.

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