Can You Break the Same Bone Twice?
There is an old adage that states you can’t break the same bone twice because the bone grows back stronger than before. Unfortunately, this is a myth. There is still a chance you can fracture it again in the same place in the future. The odds are no higher or lower.
However, there is a brief period as a bone heals that the fracture site is stronger than the surrounding bone. Later in the healing process, the fracture site and surrounding bone will reach equal strength, and the bone is not any stronger or weaker once it heals.
To understand this, it’s helpful to learn more about the healing process, which has 3 phases and starts right after a bone breaks.
The Bone Healing Process
- The reactive phase is when the area around the fracture site swells, and the healing process begins as the bone forms a callus where calcium deposits for the rebuilding process. This stage lasts about 48 hours after the injury.
- The reparative phase is the time when the membrane covering the fracture converts into bone and cartilage to start bridging the gap between the broken bone segments. This stage ends about 2 to 3 weeks post-fracture.
- The remodeling phase is the final healing phase after a bone breaks. In this phase, the trabecular (temporary) bone is replaced by compact permanent bone. The remodeling phase takes as little as 3 weeks or as long as 5 years, depending on many variables, including the nature and extent of the fracture, the stability of the fracture, and other biological processes.
Many people think they’re more likely to be struck by lightning twice than to break the same bone twice. As long as you have bones, it’s possible to break them, even twice and in the same place.
A bone only breaks if it is put under more stress than it can handle, and that might mean the same bone could break twice.
How Can I Make My Bones Stronger?
While you can’t ensure you’ll never have another injury accident again, you can do some things to reduce the chance you’ll break a bone – especially the same bone you’ve already broken.
Physical activity is one of the best ways to make your bones stronger (especially lifting weights or doing other high-impact activities). Eating a healthy diet rich in calcium can also improve your bone health.
Also, you shouldn’t smoke, as it is bad for your whole body, and that includes your bones. The reason why smoking is bad for your bones is that it makes the cells which create new bones work more slowly.
Speak with an Orthopedic Specialist Today
Make an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists today to start your healing journey. OrthoArizona has 21 offices throughout the Valley, each focused on quality care, compassion, and excellent customer service. Since 1994, OrthoArizona has been dedicated to compassionate care of the highest quality.