Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is a bone really stronger after a break heals?"
I broke my leg when I was skiing two years ago and I remember the doctor saying it could be stronger after it heals all the way. Is this true? Should I take it easy on my leg from now on even if it feels fine or is it really stronger than it used to be?
When you first break a bone, the area around the break forms a thick callus that eventually hardens and remodels into new bone, repairing the fracture. This area of bone may be temporarily stronger than the surrounding bone late in the healing process, but this has more to due with the fact that you are not bearing weight on our using the bone - so the remainder of the unbroken bone is actually getting weaker with inactivity. After the fracture has healed and you begin to walk on the leg again, the entire bone rapidly returns to its normal state of strength. Studies of fractured bones have shown that a repeat fracture is neither more nor less likely to occur at the site of old fracture. Therefore, a bone is not stronger after it heals from a fracture, but it is also not weaker. If your leg feels fine and you have no residual pain or disability, then you should be able to resume physical activity as you like. You are not at any higher risk of fracturing the bone now, assuming that the break did properly heal. I recommend that you talk with your primary care doctor for more information!
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