A bone break or fracture can happen in a variety of ways. There are different types of fractures as well, which may need different treatment. The initial point of contact for most people after they have fractured, or broken a bone, is the hospital in the emergency room. They will see the emergency room physician and receive imaging in the form of x-rays.
The x-ray may confirm that a bone is broken and it give information on the complexity of the fracture. The emergency room physician may have the limb casted as well. If it is a complex fracture requiring surgery, the person will likely stay in the hospital until the orthopaedic surgeon is able to operate.
If the fracture does not seem to require surgery, the next appointment will still be with an orthopaedic surgeon likely at fracture clinic. The orthopaedic surgeon monitors how the broken bone is healing via x-rays and will ensure the cast or brace is still the correct choice for you.
The cast or immobilizing device will stay on for 6-8 weeks generally. Once removed most people are referred to Physiotherapy to begin the rehab process.
There may be a bit of a gap there though. Once a person is comfortable and more mobile after a fracture, a Physiotherapist can still be an asset to your recovery.
For athletes, people who are generally active, and even a more sedentary population, Physiotherapists can help guide you through the recovery and keep you moving and training in ways that are safe and comfortable. This allows you to maintain strength and function as you recover. If you fractured your ankle, there are many things you can do with the rest of your body.
Physiotherapy once your cast is off:
Range of Motion
The joints that have been immobilized will be stiff getting a cast off. Your Physiotherapist may help this with hands on stretching and joint mobilizations. They will also provide you with exercises specific to you. It’s important to get as much range of motion back to ensure your joints move well. Other joints that are close may also have some stiffness / range of motion deficits that need to be addressed.
Massage Therapy around an area that has been immobilized is also an amazing tool for rehabilitation post fracture. Some people even find access massage in surrounding areas while they are healing feels helpful if they’ve been using crutches or a walking boot.
When an area has been immobilized for to 8 weeks there will be weakness. It is important to maintain strength and function in the rest of the body during this time. If you do less activity when recovering, other areas will also likely be weak.
Your Physiotherapist will work with you to strengthen the immediate and surrounding areas gradually and safely.
Physiotherapy will progress to functional activities that mimic things you need to do in your daily life. Physio will also help you progress towards you recreational goals. This may help you get back to work, as well as sports and other activities of enjoyment.
The Whole Picture
Start physio early. This doesn’t mean daily visits. What it does mean is have a plan and a problem while you are waiting to get the cast off.
Our Oakville Physio’s and RMT’s located in North Oakville are happy to help you along the process of recovering from your fracture. Call (905) 582-9700 for more information about how our Physiotherapy and Wellness Clinic can help you!