Orthopedist Questions Bone Fractures

Does a fracture take longer to heal when you have diabetes?

My father is a diabetes patient, and he recently had a fall and fractured his leg. Will his fracture take longer to heal compared to the others?

17 Answers

Yes especially if he is an insulin dependent diabetic. They have poor healing capacity due to several metabolic and vascular reasons. It’s very important for him to have good control of his sugars
Fracture in legs abs mainly ankle fractures can take twice the time to heal in diabetics so the answer is yes
Yes healing typically takes longer in diabetics.
No. Fracture healing is unaffected by diabetes
in most cases it will due to the lack of microcirculation
Diabetes does typically delay fracture healing. Some fractures, especially in older people with diabetes may take twice or even three times as long to heal compared with age-matched people without diabetes. Maintaining strict control of blood sugars and having stable, rigid fixation of the fracture will promote successful healing. Make sure you have regular follow up with your orthopedic surgeon to monitor the progress of fracture healing, or union.
Yes. Especially when the blood sugar is not under good control. Fractures heal when there is good blood flow and the blood has a good healing potential. When the sugar level in the blood is maintained at an appropriate level, it will take less time until the bone heals.

David T. Neuman, MD
Yes, in general, fractures in diabetics and smokers will take longer to heal and are at risk of not uniting or healing properly.
There’s no recent definitive data on delayed healing of long bone fractures in chronic diabetic patients. If the blood sugars remain high and the A1C is elevated, there are many processes in the body that will not be normal.
But, all other factors being equal, most diabetics in reasonably good health will consolidate their fractures in 6-8 weeks.

Dr. Mudano
Yes. Diabetes is a multi-system disease. Usually, it interferes with the blood supply. This is one of the reasons diabetics heal slower.
Yes, healing is slightly slower.

Dr. Bose
Thank you for your question. There are many factors involved in fracture healing. Different bones and locations within those bones have different rates of healing. Fractures that results from high energy injury take longer to heal. This would involve a fall from a height or involving speed. Fractures in the thicker parts of bones take longer to heal. Certain bones have very tenuous circulation and are known to have difficulty healing. The overall health of the patient certainly plays a role. People who are diabetics do take longer to heal on average. I am confident the orthopedist taking care of your father will be able to give you good advice that pertains specifically to his fracture.
Yes. Diabetes causes circulation problems (narrowing of small blood vessels). The worse your blood circulation is, the longer for anything in your body to heal.
Yes, up to an additional 4 weeks depending upon the bone.
Yes, it will take twice as long.
Yes, whether the diabetes is well controlled or not. But if not controlled, it will take longer.