Exercise & fractures?

A fracture is the medical term for a broken bone. Bones can be completely fractured or partially fractured in a number of ways including lengthwise, crosswise, in several places or into multiple pieces. The most common causes of fractures tend to be trauma, overuse and diseases that cause low bone density such as Osteoporosis.


If you are diagnosed with a fracture, the treatment plan will vary depending on the type and location. Generally, the main goal is to align the broken pieces of bone into their proper positions and stabilise them until they heal. This often involves a period of immobilisation. Fractures can take as little as 4-6 weeks to heal or many months depending on the location, severity and the general health and lifestyle of the individual.


When any part of your body is immobilised for a long period of time it can cause you to lose muscle mass, strength, range of motion and proprioception. Exercise is a key part of the rehabilitation process for a fracture and in some cases, can begin relatively soon after the diagnosis if medical clearance is given.


Initially the rehabilitation programme may include gentle range of motion exercises for the joints above or below the injured area and general cardiovascular and resistance exercises that do not involve the broken bone. An Accredited Exercise Physiologist can provide specialist advice on this and guide you on what is safe.


The benefits of beginning exercise early allows you to maintain joint range of motion, sustain your general level of conditioning as well as improving blood flow to the injured area to assist in the healing process. Once the period of immobilisation is over and you have medical clearance, a graded exercise programme can be used to restore function to the injured area and help to stimulate bone growth through gradual bone loading.


An Accredited Exercise Physiologist can also help reduce the reoccurrence risk of further fractures if the fracture is caused by overuse or disease that effects bone density. We assess your movement patterns to determine if you have any biomechanical deficits that are contributing to the mechanical stress or overload of an area, and prescribe specific exercises to correct these. For people with disease causing low bone density, we as Accredited Exercise Physiologists can prescribe exercises to increase bone density and advise on safe modes and dosage of exercise.


If you would like further information please contact Absolute Balance today at info@absolutebalance.com.au or visit our website www.absolutebalance.com.au


Lisa Wallbutton AEP


Auais, M., Eilayyan, O., & Mayo, N. (2012). Extended Exercise Rehabilitaiton After Hip Fracture Improves Patients’ Physical Function: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Physical Therapy, 92, 1437-1451.

Kahanov, L., Eberman, L., Games, K., & Wasik, M. (2015). Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of stress fractures in the lower extremity in runners. Journal of Sports Medicine, 87-95.