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Broken Bone


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#1 YT2095

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 08:49 AM

if a bone gets broken and isn`t set and put into a cast, but is kept broken due to use, what happens?

does it heal eventualy anyway? does it stay broken forever and continue hurting?
does something else happen?
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#2 Glider

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 11:23 AM

It depends largely on the type of bone, but generally, if it's prevented from healing, for example due to constant movement, then osteoclasts will eat away at the broken ends, misshaping them and osteoblasts will be trying to build up new bone to heal it, so you will end up (if it's a small bone, e.g. metacarpal or metatarsal) with a misshapen, unhealed fracture and pain.

In nost cases, the bones ends will be held together by surrounding tissue, so a degree of healing will take place, but it will be out of place. Occasionally in small bines that are less well fed with blood supply, the bone can die off. This is a particular risk in the scaphoid. Then you have a whole set of new problems.

If it's a long bone, more or less the same applies, but the bone, if it does heal, will be out of line and that's no good if it's a supporting bone. If it fails to heal, then sometimes the ends can begin to necrose and you have a whole bunch of other problems.

Due to the nature of bone healing, it's rare that two ends of a broken long bone can heal separately to leave two separate parts. generally, if a long bone is badly set, it will simply heal out of line and ramain misshapen. If it's not allowed to heal, then osteoblasts will continue to lay down new bone until either it does join (in whatever configuration) or you need surgery to remove the lumps of calcification around the fracture.
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#3 5614

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 11:24 AM

I can't say for certain but I would have assumed it depends how violently you "use" it.

If say it's a leg bone and you only gently walk then I would have thought it healed slowly over time.

But if you played rugby or a violent sport and every time the bone started to repair you went and reinforced the gap where it was broken then it could never heal.

[edit] Posted at the same time as Glider, his answer seems to have a bit more detail! Oh well
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#4 YT2095

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 02:19 PM

the Radius bone very close to the wrist, the Ulna is fine.
and all from the wrist to finger tips are fine too.
there`s no exposed bone either (a compound fracture).
2 weeks have elapsed, and it was Cracked again (quite loudly!) whilst digging to plant a fig tree.

the sensation now at reast is a bit like Cold water running inside the area but also a warm sensation too, a bit like Menthol almost.
there`s been no improvement in the pain stakes since about the 4`th day.
the blackness has all gone as has the yellowing.

and I`m NOT spending all freakin` day in hospital just sitting there waiting, so I`m "ignoring" it.
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#5 gcol

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 02:35 PM

About fifteen years ago I dropped a paving slab on my big toe, on a joint that could be described as a knuckle. I toughed it out, even though I was told it was cracked. Now I have a strange combination of tingling and numbness in the area, and intermittent pain that causes a slight limp. With hindsight, I wish I had sought proper treatment. I hope you dont regret it in later years.
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#6 jtzako

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 03:30 PM

Ive also read that some bone breaks can cause some sort of blood poisoning if not properly set. Either way Id think the long term effects of a bone not setting properly would be worth some time in a hospital.
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#7 silkworm

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 05:09 PM

if a bone gets broken and isn`t set and put into a cast, but is kept broken due to use, what happens?

does it heal eventualy anyway? does it stay broken forever and continue hurting?
does something else happen?


Well, I shattered my left shoulder in 6th grade by doing pushups. I tried to let it heal properly, but I couldn't because I'm antsy. Now because my arm is not normal, the odd angle of which it is at has disconnected the collar bone on my left side, so every time I move my arm up or down my collar bone pops out and in. This is still uncomfortable after all of these years. My left shoulder, as you can imagine, also slips in and out fairly regularly.

I was plagued with an idiot doctor because I live in a world that values greenpaper over well being. So, my wrist also healed improperly as did two breaks in my back. My back pops almost continously and gets stiff constantly. My wrist also has a bump, I suppose from calcium deposits, as do my feet that have been broken and rebroken so many times they are very deformed and bumps from calcium deposits. The bump is in my left wrist which is horrible because sometimes my motion is limited and I can't write properly.

I'm constantly uncomfortable and in pain. My point here is, you want to make your best effort to make sure your bones heal properly because the skeleton is a delicate thing and allowing something to misalign in its healing will cause strain that will cause future problems and constant pain.

If you break a bone and it's not set you're okay as long as you're not bleeding or do anything to cause yourself to bleed. This is the only concern I have when I break my ribs, because you can't do anything for them otherwise.

But if you do break a bone you want to get it set by a professional as soon as possible because if you wait around he may have to rebreak it in order to set it due to the calcium deposits.

Your bones will heal eventually, as long as the gap in the bone is not insane.
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#8 mrblond5311

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 07:27 PM

if a bone gets broken and isn`t set and put into a cast, but is kept broken due to use, what happens?

does it heal eventualy anyway? does it stay broken forever and continue hurting?
does something else happen?


I ad a friend who broke his finger (not the knuckle) and didn't go to the doctor until it was too late. When he finally went because it had healed wrong & he was in constant pain they had to give him a device that he had to wear for about 14 hours a day. This device was set up like a brace that was attached to his finger and constantly bent it up and down. He had to adjust the thing everyday so that it put more pressure on it until it finally rebroke. This process took him about 3 months. If I were you I would go. I hurt my wrist a while back and now it hurts most of the time and I constantly have to "crack it" to relieve the pain. You should see the looks I get when I pop it and it sounds like I'm breaking it. I'm not sure if the bone healed wrong or if because I didn't get it checked out it damaged my tendons but I wish I would've had it checked.
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#9 Hades

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 12:12 AM

i think thats how phinneas died in a separate peace
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#10 Nevermore

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 05:46 AM

Long story short, YT, at this pace, your radius should heal, but not well. And it could cause damage to the surrounding soft tissue. If you won't go to a hospital, I'd at least apply a splint. Any drugstore should sell one.
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#11 Glider

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 10:24 AM

The radius is necessary for rotation. If that heals poorly, it may well result in limited wrist rotation on that side. There is a chance, if it heals very poorly (i.e. abnormal bone growth around the fracture) of losing rotation altogether.
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"The strongest knowledge (that of the total unfreedom of the human will) is nonetheless the poorest in success, for it always has the strongest opponent: Human vanity" (Nietzsche, 1879).

#12 YT2095

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 03:00 PM

well on That note, seeing as it`s been 2 and half weeks now, and it seems to be getting Worse with regards to pain (it`s in my hand and up to my elbow and soft tissues now), I`ve decided to go to the Hospital tomorrow and get it looked at. it`s obviously not going to get better if I keep "re-breaking" it, and it`s also a free day and we have to take someone else up there Anyway, so I may as well I guess.

Thanks all, for the good data and advice, Appreciated! :)
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#13 Bluenoise

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 10:42 PM

Best of luck with all that.
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#14 Glider

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Posted 14 March 2006 - 09:27 AM

Yeah, let us know what happens. I've got my bet on a manual reduction under anaesthesia with possibly anti inflammatory drugs and maybe some ABs (if there's any infection).
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"The strongest knowledge (that of the total unfreedom of the human will) is nonetheless the poorest in success, for it always has the strongest opponent: Human vanity" (Nietzsche, 1879).

#15 YT2095

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Posted 14 March 2006 - 12:20 PM

Just got back in (arrived there 7:45am), and spent most of my time waiting, which is why I didn`t go in the 1`st place :(
apparently I was wrong (so much for self diagnosis) the radius is ok, it`s the Ulna that`s fractured and there`s bad nerve bruising (the ones that deal with the little finger and half the ring finger).
the Snot of a consultant after belittling the student doctor calling him a fool and that he hated him! said that he would have treated it had I have got there 2 and half weeks ago and refuses to now, grudgingly allowed the nurse to put some tube grip on it and told me to take ibuprofen that I can buy from the chemist!

I nearly risked smashing my good hand on his face! I felt really sorry for that student doctor, what an Ar$ehole!
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