It seems like a fairly common belief that bones heal stronger than they were before. I’ve certainly heard this myself so let’s take a look in more depth to see if there’s any truth in this statement!
So how does a broken bone heal?
The body’s first reaction after a bone is broken is to form a blood clot around the fracture. This fills the gap between the break, and protects the area. This is when your immune system springs into action!
The area around the fracture swells and becomes inflamed. This is an important part of the healing process. Stem cells, bone marrow and blood respond, migrating to the area and cartilage and new bone then begin to form.
New bone starts to form, and cartilage fills the voids. After about eight days, the cartilage is replaced with very strong callus. It’s during this brief time that the fracture site is stronger than the surrounding bone. A few weeks later the temporary bone starts to be replaced with permanent bone.
This last phase can take up to five years, depending on the severity of the fracture. But once the bone is fully healed, you’re left with a bone that is basically the same as it was before the break – so it’s not stronger, and it’s not weaker either.