Patient perception on fracture healing


fracture ; healing ; patient perception ; non union ; risk factors

Published online: Oct 08 2021

Zain Sadozai, Syed Awais Bokhari, Ken Mannan

From the Pinderfields General Hospital, Aberford Rd, Wakefield, United Kingdom


Effective communication skills are an extremely important aspect of good medical practice. Fractures are common with over 1 million fractures occurring each year in the UK ; of which 5-10% may have problems with healing. Patient perceptions of factors harmful to the fracture healing process are unknown and our study investigates this.

A total of 418 responses were collected from parti- cipants in a single centre in our survey based study. We collected our data using a questionnaire we developed set to determine patient perception on factors potentially affecting bone-healing.

The patients and relatives attending our fracture clinic who completed the questionnaire showed that 84% and 73% of patients believed tobacco and alcohol to be harmful to bone-healing. 31% thought that there was a harmful effect to bone-healing with ibuprofen and 25% perceived the same regarding caffeine. Paracetamol, vinegar and chocolate were considered to be least harmful to bone-healing with 20%, 15% and 11% responses respectively.

The majority of patients believed that there was a harmful association with tobacco and alcohol with regards to bone-healing. This harmful relationship is well understood in modern literature with documented association of bone delayed and non-union. However we believe for the benefit of patients, they should all be aware of these detrimental effects. There was no clear consensus regarding all the remaining substances and their effect on bone-healing. A clear possibility has been identified to improve fracture outcomes by empowering patients to take ownership of their injury by lifestyle modifications which are within their remit.