Many people think that all bone heals the same. The general rule is that bone healing for fractures take about 6-8 weeks. When patients ask me how long their fractures take to heal, I reply that it usually takes 6-8 in a perfectly healthy “18 year old” without bone metabolism issues…so that eliminates most of my patient population.
Bone is a living organ and it will take the amount of time IT NEEDS to heal on its own. Doesn’t matter what you think, its what mother natures thinks. Our bone quality is a reflection of our health and sometimes our body may take longer to heal than a healthy 18 year old.
Some of the factors that contribute to slowed bone healing may be steroids, osteoporosis, age, medications. prolong non-weightbearing, etc.
Another common issue than contributes to slowed bone healed is Vitamin D deficiency. This is a newer subject in the bone healing and metabolism realm and more and more studies are being produced on this subject.
Vitamin D is a major player in the bone healing and metabolism pathway. It’s a fat soluble vitamin essential for strong bones. Lack of it contributes to slowed bone healing and the can cause serious problem with regards to bone procedures involved in foot and ankle surgery.
Inadequate Vitamin D level can lead to:
Furthermore, there’s new research demonstrating that low Vitamin D levels increase the risk of cardiovascular events and problems such as heart attack and stroke. Those who are susceptible to low Vitamin D levels include: African-Americans, darker skinned individuals, people with limited sun exposure, obesity, fat malabsorption syndromes, and chronic steroid usage.
Vitamin D is not readily available through most foods. It is increased with sun exposure and supplementation. Many people have low Vitamin D levels and need a supplement to reach recommended levels.
The US FDA daily value for Vitamin D is 400 IU, but for those with vitamin D deficiency, higher levels maybe recommended.
I commonly perform routine bloodworm to check for Vitamin D deficiency and supplement patients that are deficient. Fo those patient who are exceedingly low, I refer patient back to the primary care doctors for oral prescription level medication which is taken once a week.