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Fracture Reduction

What is a closed reduction of a broken bone?

A closed reduction is a procedure to line up the ends of a broken (fractured) bone without the need for surgery. This will help the fractured bone heal correctly. It may be done right after your injury or several days later.

  • How it's done

    How is a closed reduction of a broken bone done?

    Your doctor will give you medicine to help you relax and help with pain. The doctor will push or pull the ends of the fractured bone until they line up. This part of the procedure is called reduction. Then your doctor will put a cast or splint on the affected arm or leg to help hold the bone in place while it heals. The doctor will take an X-ray to check that the bone is properly lined up.

  • After the procedure

    After closed reduction of a broken bone: Overview

    Your doctor fixed a broken (fractured) bone without surgery. You can expect the pain from the bone to get much better almost right after the procedure. But you may have some pain for 2 to 3 weeks and mild pain for up to 6 weeks after surgery.

    How soon you can return to work and your normal routine depends on your job and how long it takes the bone to heal. If you have a desk job, you may be able to go back to work right away. But if you have a fractured leg and your job requires you to walk or stand a lot, you will need to wait until your fracture has healed.

    You heal best when you take good care of yourself. Eat a variety of healthy foods, and don’t smoke.

    What can you expect as you recover from a closed reduction of a broken bone?

    Most people go home right after the procedure. You will need someone to drive you home. You may need extra help at home, especially if you live alone or provide care for another person. You may have some mild bone pain or aching for 2 to 3 weeks.

    It usually takes 6 to 12 weeks for a fractured bone to heal. This depends on your age, which bone you fractured, the type of fracture you have, and how badly the bone was injured. You will need to wear a cast or splint until the bone has healed.

    How soon you can return to work and your normal routine depends on your job and how long it takes the bone to heal. If you have a fractured leg and you sit at work, you may be able to go back within several days. But if your job requires a lot of standing or walking, you will need to wait until your fracture has healed.

  • Care of a Child

    How can you care for your child after closed reduction of a broken bone?

    Activity

    • Encourage your child to rest. Getting enough sleep will help your child recover.
    • Increase your child’s activity as recommended by the doctor. Being active boosts blood flow and helps prevent pneumonia and constipation. It is usually okay for your child to exercise other parts of the body as soon as he or she feels well enough.
    • Remind your child not to put weight on the broken bone until the doctor says it is okay.
    • Your child can take showers or baths, but do not let your child get the cast wet. Tape a sheet of plastic to cover the cast so that it stays dry. It may help to have your child sit on a shower stool.

    Diet

    • Your child can eat a normal diet. If your child’s stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.

    Medicines

    • Give pain medicines exactly as directed.
      • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
      • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.
    • If you think pain medicine is making your child feel sick:
      • Give the medicine after meals (unless your doctor has told you not to).
      • Ask the doctor for a different pain medicine.
    • If the doctor prescribed antibiotics for your child, give them as directed. Do not stop using them just because your child feels better. Your child needs to take the full course of antibiotics.

    Exercise

    • Have your child do exercises as instructed by the doctor or physical therapist. These exercises will help keep your child’s muscles strong and joints flexible while the bone is healing.
    • Ask your child to wiggle the fingers or toes on the injured arm or leg often. This helps reduce swelling and stiffness.

    Other instructions

    • Keep your child’s cast dry.
    • Use a sling to support your child’s fractured limb, if the doctor tells you to.
    • Do not stick objects such as pencils or coat hangers in your child’s cast to scratch the skin.
    • Do not put powder into your child’s cast to relieve itchy skin.
    • Never cut or alter your child’s cast.

    Copyrighted material adapted with permission from Healthwise, Incorporated. This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.