Have you ever wondered how a broken bone heals? Broken bones, also called fractures, can heal two different ways. The two types of bone healing are primary and secondary bone healing. Secondary bone healing is more common than primary bone healing.
Secondary bone healing occurs when there is slight, controlled motion between the two ends of broken bone during the healing time. For example, slight motion occurs when the broken bone is set in a cast. Once the broken bone has been aligned back to its normal position and is placed in a cast, proper healing can begin.
In addition, secondary bone healing progresses through different stages. The first stage occurs immediately after the fracture. In this stage, there is swelling and bleeding around the broken bone. The bleeding then becomes a mass around the break. This mass is first known as a soft callus and eventually becomes a hard callus. Once the soft callus becomes hard, the bone is stable. After a cast is removed, the hard callus is gradually remodeled to normal bone. This can take up to several years.