Orthopaedic doctors and surgeons typically treat broken bones using one or more of the following methods:
Traction – a steady pulling action to reposition and align a broken bone.
Reduction – a surgical procedure to restore a fractured or dislocated bone to the proper position.
Cast immobilisation – most fractures can heal successfully once they are immobilised inside a plaster cast. Some may require repositioning first, using traction or reduction.
Internal or external fixation – using metal pins, screws and bars to fix bones in place while they heal, either on the inside or outside of the body.
However, bone repair isn’t always as simple as this. Healing can be delayed or stopped altogether by extensive trauma, bone loss, infection, ageing, premature mobilisation, diabetes and osteonecrosis (a disease caused by reduced blood flow to bones in the joints, leading to bone death and breakdown). These factors can lead to non-union or non-healing fractures, which causes chronic pain and disability for patients. In these circumstances, re-establishing the structural integrity of the bones can be a major challenge for doctors.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a simple and non-invasive alternative remedy that is widely used for enhancing healing of non-union fractures.
How does HBOT help to improve bone health and heal fractures?
HBOT involves breathing 100% pure oxygen at greater-than-normal atmospheric pressures. The extra oxygen combined with the pressure conditions increases the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.
HBOT is known to enhance stimulation of the production of collagen, a tough, fibrous material that fills the space between broken bones and helps ‘knit’ them back together. Hyperbaric oxygen also promotes fast growth of new capillaries in affected areas, which in turn brings more oxygen and nutrients to the bones.
Numerous animal studies have demonstrated that osteoblasts and osteoclasts are exquisitely reactive to increased oxygen. In 2007, D. Wu et al conducted an experiment for Connective Tissue Research, investigating in vitro the effects of hyperbaric oxygen on osteoblasts, the cells responsible for synthesising bone. They observed that HBOT stimulated proliferation of osteoblasts, providing direct cellular evidence that HBOT is effective for fracture healing and bone growth.
HBOT also helps to reduce swelling and inflammation, improve circulation, boost the immune system, and suppress infection. This is particularly important for tibia/fibular fractures, which have a poor blood supply. Additionally, HBOT helps bone grafts to ‘take’ and heal with fewer complications.
Its positive effects on bone and soft tissue regeneration have made hyperbaric oxygen a sought-after complementary therapy in the sporting community.) This process is widely used by professional footballers and performance athletes for reducing their injury recovering times. English professional football, rugby and cricket teams have successfully used HBOT to treat injured players.
For instance, David Beckham fractured his foot on the pitch. Despite an estimated recovery time of 7 weeks, Beckham completed a course of HBOT sessions and was back on the pitch in just 3. Wales and Crystal Palace player Joe Ledley broke his leg 3 weeks before the UEFA European Championship. Despite an estimated recovery time of 7-9 weeks, Ledley received hyperbaric oxygen therapy sessions and was able to play in the first game of the championship.
Boost your recovery time at the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Centre
For more information about how our HBOT sessions can assist with broken bones, non-union fractures and general bone health, contact us on 0203 823 1212 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, book a consultation with our very own hyperbaric expert, Robert Pender, where you will have the opportunity to discuss your ailment in detail and decide upon a suitable number of sessions.
Although HBOT having been used for many years as a therapeutic intervention for a variety of indications, the evidence for its use is not proven by “randomized prospective controlled clinical experiment or trial” which is considered to be the strongest form of scientific evidence by conventional medical standards.
People with bone fractures may benefit from HBOT as an adjunctive therapy alongside their conventional medical treatments. It is always recommended that clients visit their GP or Consultant if there is any medical problem before commencing HBOT. Our HBOT expert, Robert Pender regularly consults GPs and medical consultants or relevant members (MDs) of International Hyperbaric Medical Association when required whilst client’s confidentiality will be respected and protected throughout.
In accordance with UK and EU legislation we confirm that there is no intention implied or otherwise that HBOT is given so with the intention of it being a cure, diagnosis or as a preventative for any disease. Any references, studies or testimonials on this website do not imply that similar results will occur when the same therapy is experienced by another.