Why does a fracture still hurts when it is healing? I understand the pain at the beginning - the bone is not in its place, there is a pressure against the nerves, also the swelling pushes the nerves etc. But why does it still hurt after several weeks, when the swelling is gone, the bone is more or less fixed? Is the cause of the pain mechanical, or chemical?


1 Answer 1


At the initial phases of the healing the broken ends are mobile (and this is time when it can be set and put into a cast).

At later stages soft callus than hard callus forms and now any movement will pull on the broken ends and stimulate the nerve endings: it hurts.

This also has the effect that the nearby muscles will spasm in an attempt to immobilize the bone. Another source of the pain can be that these muscles become tired and start to hurt as well.

The pain will continue until the two broken ends are completely welded together so there is no longer any movement that would stimulate those nerves.

  • $\begingroup$ Well, but aren't the two broken ends more or less welded together after 3-4 weeks? Why does it hurt longer? $\endgroup$ Jun 14, 2018 at 12:34
  • $\begingroup$ @HonzaZidek It's not fully welded together until the cast is removed, which takes 6-8 weeks usually. Even after that there is a remodeling phase which can cause disconfort as your body restores the bone's original shape. Also the changes in posture during the 2-3 months injury needs to be corrected, unused muscles need to regain their strength, overused ones need rest, which can cause pain (even elsewhere). $\endgroup$
    – Calmarius
    Jun 14, 2018 at 14:01

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