Physician Blog By Timothy Bhattacharyya, MD
Recovery after fractures and other injuries
After surgery patients often ask, “When will I get better?” I spend a lot of time reassuring patients that their strength and function will improve, and it takes time.
They often look at me like I have three heads. I think it can feel frustrating when a few weeks go by and things aren’t wonderful. I am always reassuring patients that things will continue to improve. How do I know?
Well here is a graph from a medical study on tibia fractures. You’ll see lines comparing three groups—just ignore that. Instead, look at the strong reliable upward trend in function that occurs over several months. And notice that there is substantial improvement between six months and one year.
Here’s another study of recovery wrist fractures. In this study, they were looking at 5-year outcomes. Focus on the first year. Again, you’ll see the dependable reliable improvement over the first year. Here, we see durable gains in subsequent years.
There are some important insights here. Even 2 months after surgery, you can expect continued improvement. Pain does go down; motion and strength continue to improve. It just takes time and a bit of supervised exercise.
-Timothy Bhattacharyya, MD
Dr. Timothy Bhattacharyya of OrthoBethesda performs over 350 surgeries per year and specializes in diseases of the hip.
Dr. Bhattacharyya has experience with hip arthritis, hip dysplasia, hip socket fractures, and revision hip surgery. An accomplished researcher, Dr. Bhattacharyya has published over 40 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts, including two lead articles in the prestigious Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. Read more here and make an appointment with Dr. Bhattacharyya today.