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from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

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How Broken Bones Heal

A broken bone is called a fracture. In order for a fracture to heal, the bones must be held in the correct position and protected.

Soon after a fracture occurs, the body acts to protect the injured area, and forms a protective blood clot and callus around the fracture.

New "threads" of bone cells start to grow on both sides of the fracture line. These threads grow toward each other.

The fracture closes and the callus is absorbed. Depending upon the type of fracture, this healing process may take up to a year.

This video provides information about how fractures heal and factors that can slow or even stop the bone healing process.

Last Reviewed

September 2012

AAOS does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products, or physicians referenced herein. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific orthopaedic advice or assistance should consult his or her orthopaedic surgeon, or locate one in your area through the AAOS Find an Orthopaedist program on this website.