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What is Bone Callus?

What is a Bone Callus?

Bone is tough and if fractured cannot heal in a day. As a bone recovers from a fracture it goes through a healing process. It may even take more than a month to heal. A bone callus is an important part of the healing process. It is a fibrocartilaginous callus that develops at the side of the fracture after the inflammation from the injury begins to fade out.

Causes of Development of Bone Callus

The development of bone callus takes place during the healing process of the fracture.(1)

There are three phases in which fracture healing takes place.

  • Inflammatory phase
  • Reparative phase
  • Bone remodeling phase

Inflammatory Phase

The inflammatory phase is the first phase of bone healing and starts as soon as the bone is fractured. It may last for several days. There is collection of blood at the site of the fracture, which causes inflammation and blood clotting

Reparative Phase

The reparative phase is the second phase of the healing process and is also known as the bone production phase.

In the reparative phase, a soft, thick callus made of fibrous tissues and cartilage replaces the blood clot at the site of fracture. The callus helps in holding the piece of fractured bone together but is not strong enough to be used the way a bone is used. According to the 2017 review, there is the formation of callus between the 2-6 weeks of the occurrence of fracture.(2) Eventually, the callus hardens as the healing continues. The hard callus is like a bone but not as hard and strong.

Bone Remodeling Phase

Bone remodeling occurs over and over again as it is a lifelong process. In this, the old bone tissue is removed and replaced by new bone tissue.

Bone remodeling also takes place after a fracture. The callus goes through the remodeling phase. The osteoclast present chip away and osteoblast forms new bone in the place. The process takes several months and during this time the bone gets compact and resumes its original shape.(3)

Callus and Bone Formation

A bone callus is a temporary development during the healing process. Finally, the callus becomes a bone and hardens and strengthens over time. The entire healing process takes as long as a year.(4) Depending on the type and severity of the fracture the healing time may vary.(5)

If the fracture is healing slower than expected, the doctor may recommend the following to speed it up:

  • Bone stimulation
  • Immobilization of the fractured bone for a longer period of time
  • Undergoing surgery with bone graft or bone growth protein

How to Promote Bone Healing?

After the bone breaks the doctor aligns it properly so that it heals correctly. Avoiding the movement of the bone is important for the healing process.

The following steps can be taken to heal the bone:

  • Immobilization: The doctor instructs to keep the broken bone immobilized and not to put weight on it. Resuming work with a weak bone may put the healing process in the back seat.
  • Healthy and Balanced Diet: Nutrient intake is important for the bone to heal fast. Thick lean protein, fruits and vegetables are advised to be included in the diet. Foods rich in calcium, vitamin D, and protein should be increased in the diet or a person should start taking calcium and vitamin D supplements.
  • Do not Smoke: Smoking can slow down the healing process. A review of multiple studies found smoking to be associated with fractures that do not heal and also with deep surgical site infections.(6)
  • Limit Alcohol Intake: Alcohol can lead to oxidative stress that can disrupt bone healing.(7)
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy is recommended to regain strength and range of motion. It helps in learning how to move safely without re-injuring self.

Recovering from a bone fracture may take time and patience. A bone callus is an important part of the process of healing and is known to develop around 2-6 weeks after the bone is broken. The entire healing process may take a year depending on severity and type of fracture.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 18, 2022

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