• Question: how do bones repair themselves after a break?

    Asked by jamesbond007 to Daphne, Darren, Jon, Katherine on 22 Mar 2012.
    • Photo: Daphne Ng

      Daphne Ng answered on 22 Mar 2012:

      The repair occurs in stages. Firstly, tiny blood vessels grow at the site of the fracture to remove dead and damaged tissue. After a few days, cells called fibroblasts produce collagen which is the protein found in bone and connective tissue. Then, another type of cell, chondroblasts produce cartilage to close the gap between the break. Lastly, osteoblasts which are bone building cells, produce bone cells to transform the break into the hard bone that we know.

      This process lasts a few months so that’s why broken bones need to be in a cast for a few months until the bone heals.

    • Photo: Katherine Haxton

      Katherine Haxton answered on 22 Mar 2012:

      This is seriously important to me right now as my fiancée has broken his arm and hopes to get the cast off very soon
      Sometimes bones need a little help to repair themselves right – if a fracture is very bad, an operation might be needed to put pins or a plate in place so that when the bones heal themselves, they heal correctly. It’s really important, particularly in young people that breaks heal as good as new because they’ve got a lot of use to make of their bones.