The Survival Doctor

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by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

If you’ve only ever seen a dried-up old bone on a skeleton, you’ve gotten the wrong idea about bones. Bones are very dynamic, and that fact impacts how we treat broken ones.

Last week, I wrote that it’s important to immobilize most fractures. Splint them, and don’t walk on them. (Make a cane or crutches if you have to travel for safety or to get help.) But learning why this immobilization is so important will help you remember to do it.

The reasons are multifold. Initially, if you do use the broken bone, besides increasing the pain, you may move the bone further out of place. You’re certainly likely to injure the soft tissue around the bone more. You could make a little crack into a larger break.

But for the long term, if you just keep moving it without a good splint or cast, it’s not going to heal well.

How a Bone Heals

Those dynamic bones in your body are all covered with a thin, fibrous tissue called a periosteum. For one thing, this lining is full of blood vessels and nerves. For another, it contains specialized cells, called [... continue reading]

Author: LAwordsmith
Posted: June 29, 2015, 10:00 am

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