Post-fracture rehabilitation

Fractures are common among athletes, children and the elderly, but anyone can suffer from a fracture. Many people think a fracture is not a serious condition. However a fracture is a broken bone, and as such it requires emergency attention.

An x-ray is usually taken to determine if there is a fracture. With certain types of fractures such as stress fractures, a bone scan may have to be conducted as the fracture may be difficult to pick up with an x-ray. Post-fracture rehabilitation may involve surgery but in some cases non-surgical intervention may be all that is needed.

Stress fractures can occur in people who are poorly conditioned or have poor biomechanics such as overpronated (flat) feet or in professional athletes who over train. A mild stress fracture can be healed with rest and time – usually 4 to 8 weeks. Sometimes the limb may be put in a brace or cast to allow it to rest and promote healing. Crutches may be needed to help the person to move around without weight bearing on the fractured limb. Ice is used to decrease pain and inflammation and anti-inflammatory drugs may be taken to relieve pain. In severe cases surgery may have to be performed. Rehabilitation will involve non-weight bearing stretching and strengthening exercises to keep the patient in good physical condition during the healing phase and once the acute stage is over, the exercises will be progressed to weight bearing exercises.

Hip fracture rehabilitation is a highly skilled task requiring special procedures and precautions. Because of the anatomy of the hip, complications can arise if it is not handled carefully during rehabilitation. Depending on the type of surgical procedure, your doctor may state certain weight-bearing precautions which we will explain to you and also train you in following them. Four to eight weeks of therapy may be required after you leave the hospital. During this time we will treat your pain, guide you in a gradual return to full weight bearing on that limb and give you strengthening and mobility exercises.

Some athletes may sustain a clavicle (collarbone) fracture or it may occur during a fall or accident. Depending on the nature of the injury, a figure-of-eight strap wrapped around the body and the shoulders, together with a sling may aid in recovery. Your doctor may prescribe pain medications and physiotherapy once the strap is removed. Rest is important during the acute stage. You should avoid any activity that will cause pain. Cycling on a stationary bike and hydrotherapy are great ways to exercise without placing stress on the fracture. After the acute stage is past, you may begin strengthening exercises for the muscles of the shoulder, back, upper arms and chest.

These are just a few examples of the types of fractures we can help you with. If you have sustained any kind of fracture, come and see us and we will get you on the road to recovery.

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