Bone fractures are common injuries that can cause a great deal of pain and can interfere with your normal activity. This article will discuss how bone fractures can occur and how regular physical therapy can help prevent bone fractures in those who are most vulnerable.
Common causes of bone fractures
A bone fracture occurs when a large force is applied to your bone, causing it to break. This force can be the result of a bad fall, a sports injury, an accident, or repetitive stress over time. Although bones are strong, they are still vulnerable to breaks if there is a large enough impact. Osteoporosis or other bone-weakening conditions can lead to an even higher risk of bone fractures.
Overall, athletes and older adults tend to be more susceptible to bone fractures. Sports accidents are common—particularly among athletes in contact sports—which can cause bone fractures. Meanwhile, seniors are more prone to fall and often have weaker bones, which means they are more likely to experience broken bones.
Some of the most common bone fractures include:
- Collarbone fracture
- Hip fracture
- Wrist fracture
- Forearm fracture
- Foot fracture
- Toe fracture
Bone fractures often lead to sudden, intense pain and should be treated right away to avoid further complications.
What does treatment for a bone fracture look like?
A doctor will usually first diagnose a bone fracture by ordering an X-ray and examining it for any signs of a break. If a fracture is confirmed, they will typically first immobilize the affected area in either a cast or brace to give the bone the stability it needs to heal. The length of time needed to wear the cast or brace depends on the location and severity of the break.
In some severe cases, surgery may be necessary to realign the bone or to reposition bone fragments. Many bone fractures will heal on their own with immobilization, rest, and time, but some injuries might require further intervention to keep them from getting worse. Your doctor will come up with a treatment plan based on your unique needs.
Preventative care to avoid bone fractures
No one wants to worry about the pain and frustration of a broken bone. Unfortunately, they are common injuries since they can have many different causes. That doesn’t mean you’re helpless to prevent them. Here are some of the top steps you can take to lower your risk of suffering from a bone fracture:
Regular physical therapy to strengthen your body
Especially among seniors, routine physical therapy can help condition your body to be less susceptible to falls and their bad consequences. Physical therapy challenges you to build up your strength, expand your range of motion, and improve your flexibility and balance—all of which lower your risk of falls and accidents that can lead to bone fractures.
Experts typically recommend a combination of weight-bearing exercises, resistance training, and flexibility/balance exercises to keep your body in shape. These exercises will help strengthen your bones and improve your coordination, meaning your body will be less likely to fall and break a bone. Not to mention, physical therapy is often prescribed as part of a patient’s recovery to help them restore their strength and range of motion if they do happen to suffer a bone fracture.
Professional physical therapists will work with you to devise an exercise plan that will give you the optimal benefits of strength and balance to help you avoid the dangers of bone fractures.
Keep a tidy living space
Many falls are the result of cluttered living areas, making it easy for you to trip or lose your footing. Tidy up any clutter that could present tripping hazards to avoid falls in your home.
Make slippery surfaces in your home safer
Clutter isn’t the only cause of home falls. Slippery surfaces can also present a tripping hazard for seniors who may be more at risk. Installing handrails in bathtubs and putting carpeted rugs over slippery hardwood or tile floors can help prevent slips. Wearing shoes or socks with traction around your home can also help.
Eat a diet rich with bone-nourishing nutrients
Calcium and Vitamin D are critical nutrients for bone strength. As we age, our bone density tends to decline, making us more vulnerable to bone fractures from falls or accidents. Ensuring your diet is full of calcium and Vitamin D can help ward off bone weakening and lower your risk of a broken bone. Try enjoying more dairy, nuts, leafy greens, and fish or consider supplementing your diet with these key nutrients.
Get your eyes examined regularly
Impaired vision is a major contributor to falls and bone fractures. If your ability to see where you’re going is weakened, you will be more likely to trip or struggle to navigate your space. Keep your home well-lit and make sure that your vision is corrected to make sure you can always see where you’re going.
Discuss any medical conditions or medication side effects with your healthcare provider
A variety of medical conditions (like arthritis, for example) that limit your mobility can raise your risk of falling while other conditions (like osteoporosis) may leave your bones more fragile and prone to fractures. Many medications also have side effects that may interfere with your ability to safely move around, including dizziness, drowsiness, or reduced coordination. Be sure to discuss these conditions and side effects with your doctor so that you always know your risk level.
Physical Therapy to Prevent Bone Fractures at FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Center at Lincoln Park
Bone fractures can be painful and debilitating. At FYZICAL at Lincoln Park, our experienced physical therapists know firsthand the struggle that bone fractures can cause. Luckily, they are ready to start working with you right away to develop a physical therapy plan that will keep your bones healthy and strong, lowering your risk of falls and fractures. No doctor’s prescription or referral needed!
If you want to minimize your risk of bone fractures, contact us today to get started with a physical therapy plan that works for you!