Understanding Wedge Fractures
A Wedge Fracture is a variant of a vertebral compression fracture which occurs either anteriorly or laterally and can be seen as having the shape of a wedge on radiographs. Wedge Fracture most commonly occurs in the thoracic spine. Even though the thoracic spine is quite rigid and have significant ability to rotate but are vulnerable to injuries with hyperflexion of the thoracic spine.
Normally, Wedge Fractures do not cause any neurological symptoms which tend to result due to nerve impingement in other forms of vertebral compression fractures. In some cases, Wedge Fracture can cause severe bent forward posture in the affected individual. Sometimes, a bone fragment may slip into the spinal canal as a result of a Wedge Fracture. In instances where bone fragments tend to slip into the spinal canal, the affected individual will experience symptoms similar to myelopathy which can be quite serious and requires immediate medical attention.
While Wedge Fracture may not be that common, it requires aggressive treatment to correct the posture and prevent any permanent damage to the spinal canal due to bone fragments.
The question that comes to mind pertaining to Wedge Fractures are what is the recovery period for such fractures.
How Long Does It Take For A Wedge Fracture To Heal?
Wedge Fracture is a condition from which an individual can make a complete recovery even though it may take some time. The preferred mode of treatment for Wedge Fractures is braces which need to be worn for around 10-12 weeks for immobilization and allowing the bones to heal. Post treatment with braces, the patient will have to spend some time in physical therapy to strengthen the spine and trunk. The flexibility of the spine is also significantly improved by physical therapy.
Once the patient is through with physical therapy, a gradual return to activity is recommended and once the patient is able to perform activities of daily living and work related activities without any discomfort or pain then return to full activities is allowed. This normally takes around six months after the diagnosis of a Wedge Fracture.
Once completely treated, the patient is recommended to continue regular exercises so as to prevent any recurrences of a Wedge Fracture. Having a diet rich in calcium also is quite vital to prevent any future occurrences of a Wedge Fracture.