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How Bones Heal

Bone is living tissue made up of cells. When a bone breaks, cells in the blood rush to the fractured area. These cells grow into new bone. Bones heal through a gradual process called remodeling. The length of this process depends on the type of fracture and how well the injury is cared for.

Blood clot forms when bone breaks.
Tissues bleed around the fracture. This forms a blood clot in the space between bone fragments.

Fibers are formed.
Cells form a network of strong fibers inside the blood clot. These fibers hold bone fragments together.

New bone called fracture callus is formed.
The fibers are replaced by new bone. At first, the new bone is weak and spongy. This is called a fracture callus.

New bone gets stronger.
The new bone grows stronger, even after a cast is removed. The fracture callus shrinks as the bone is used.

 

Online Medical Reviewer: Hanrahan, John, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 8/26/2013
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