How can function be restored after a bone fracture?

How can function be restored after a bone fracture?

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1. How does a bone fracture impact mobility?

The injuries resulting from bone fractures vary widely in severity and complexity. In cases of compression fractures, patients may experience multiple intricate injuries, affecting not only the bone but also surrounding tissues such as tendons, muscles, ligaments, or soft tissues. 

Depending on the extent of the injury, doctors choose appropriate treatment methods, such as casting or surgical fixation using various devices like splints, screws, or pins, along with suturing any damaged skin or tissues.

After immobilizing the bone through casting or surgery, patients typically refrain from moving the affected area. This can lead to decreased sensation, joint stiffness, muscle atrophy, and reduced mobility.

Especially in elderly individuals, prolonged immobilization due to pain tolerance issues can result in pressure ulcers, infections, circulatory impairment, decreased bladder reflexes, and other complications that significantly affect mobility and overall health in the future.

Therefore, experts advise proactive engagement in post-injury rehabilitation. Enduring discomfort to restore function after a fracture is crucial. Diligent rehabilitation efforts help restore joint function, enhance muscle strength, ensure smooth blood circulation, promote metabolic processes, alleviate muscle tension, reduce pain, and expedite bone healing. Early and appropriate rehabilitation efforts enable individuals to regain mobility swiftly, returning to their normal active lifestyles.

2. Principles for Supporting Recovery After Bone Fractures

When undergoing physical therapy to recover from bone fractures, it's crucial to follow these supportive principles:

  • Facilitate optimal conditions for bone and soft tissue healing.
  • Alleviate pain, reduce swelling, prevent joint stiffness, and avoid localized pain syndromes.
  • Preserve joint mobility and minimize muscle atrophy risk.
  • Restore fine motor skills in the hands and feet after periods of immobilization.

3. Methods for Restoring Function after Bone Fractures

Regardless of the method chosen to restore function after a bone fracture, consistency and daily exercise are crucial. Combining different approaches will yield the best results. Here are some suggestions:

  • Temperature Therapy: Both hot and cold therapies can aid in the recovery process, but they should be used appropriately:

- Cold therapy helps reduce swelling and pain immediately after the injury.
- Heat therapy promotes tissue softening, blood circulation, and mobility during rehabilitation. Avoid shortwave diathermy if there are metal implants to prevent inflammation.

  • Joint Mobility Exercises: Immobilizing joints for too long can lead to stiffness and other issues. Exercises that move and mobilize joints help maintain their health and flexibility. These exercises can usually begin a few days after surgery or cast removal.
  • Walking Exercises: Even before bones are fully healed, walking with crutches or a cane is encouraged, especially for lower limb fractures. Maintain good posture and start with the injured leg forward. Once bones are nearly healed, walking without support is recommended.

  • Other Exercises: Additional exercises include:

- Strengthening and stretching exercises, adjusted according to pain levels.
- Engaging in daily activities like climbing stairs, squatting, and gripping objects, gradually increasing intensity over time.
- Massage therapy can accelerate bone healing and improve joint function. Avoid using alcohol-based or oil-based rubbing ointments to prevent joint stiffness.

Note: Exercise should only be performed when joints are stable, and any complications should be closely monitored with medical guidance.