Why It Takes Longer To Heal Broken Bones As An Adult

If you ever broke a bone as a child, it probably felt like it took forever to heal. But in reality, the bones of children generally take much less time to heal than broken bones in adults. Everyone has a different timeline for healing from a broken bone. While broken bones all go through the same process to help them heal, the speed at which a bone repairs itself depends on a few different things.

How long a broken bone takes to heal is influenced by the type of bone fracture, the location of the broken bone, the patient's medical and nutritional history, and the age of the patient (via American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons). Diseases like osteoporosis make people more prone to bone breakage, as osteoporosis makes your bones weaker. People are more likely to develop this condition as they get older, often accompanied by vision issues as they age, the likelihood increases that they may fall and break a bone (via Cleveland Clinic).

Your immune system may be slowing things down

On average, a bone takes roughly six to eight weeks to heal (via WebMD). The older you get, however, the more time it takes for your body to make significant progress in healing from a break. One of the biggest reasons for this slow in recovery time has to do with the way bones heal. The first step in the healing process starts immediately after a fracture. Blood rushes to the site of the break, which causes inflammation and blood clotting (via American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons). The immune system prompts the inflammation to help fight any potential infection at the fracture site (via Science Daily). As people age, their immune system does not turn off this inflammation response as quickly or as well as it once did (via Medical News Today). This can cause the immune system to slow the production of stem cells that are needed to heal bone fractures.

Experts suggest that there are a few things people can do to help heal a broken bone more quickly. Rest is the most important part of bone healing. Taking certain vitamin and mineral supplements may also promote faster healing. Protein supplements could also help bones rebuild since bones contain a large amount of protein. And while exercise may be helpful to heal certain bone fractures, only a doctor can say whether or not someone with a broken bone should engage in any sort of physical activity.