How Long Do Fracture Blisters Last?
Fracture blisters occur around the region of a broken bone, specifically in areas where there is very less fat between the bone and the skin, such as: the elbows, ankles and knees. They often form after a serious injury when the bone shifts badly from its position or when a bone is crushed with excessive force. Most of the times, fracture blisters indicate significant injury to the soft tissue. Around 3% of all fractures are accompanied by fracture blisters. In some cases, fracture blisters also occur after bone surgery. Blisters may occur in as less as 6 hours after the injury has taken place, or take as long as 3 weeks to develop.
If you have broken or fractured your bone, and have started noticing fracture blisters forming in the area, then you must be wondering what they are how long they will be there for. here at OneHOWTO we will tell you how long do fracture blisters last, along with other details about these pesky things.
Symptoms of fracture blisters
Fracture blisters occur around the area where you have recently suffered from a bone fracture. They develop under the outer layer of the skin and are filled with a gel-like fluid. Usually, these blisters are painless, separate from the pain you will experience from the injury itself. Fracture blisters are divided into two distinct types: serous and hemorrhagic. Serous fracture blisters are identified by a clear fluid, tight or tense skin in the area, and partial separation of the dermis and epidermis. Hemorrhagic fracture blisters are identified by red or blood colored fluid, loose skin in the area, and complete separation of the dermis and epidermis. Although you can have both types of fracture blisters at the same time, hemorrhagic ones occur more often due to more serious fracture injuries.
How Are fracture blisters formed
When a bone is fractured, the body releases an inflammatory compound that is responsible for causing swelling or edema. When the swelling exerts extra pressure on your blood vessels, it separates the bond between your dermis and epidermis,allowing fluid to enter between them. This is how fracture blisters are formed. Sometimes, fracture blister can also form after an ankle or foot surgery (not related to an injury), such as bunion removal or hammer toe correction. However, formation of blisters after a surgery is very rare. Since the foot naturally swells after a fracture or surgery, it is important to keep your leg elevated to prevent swelling and the formation of blisters.
What’s inside fracture blisters?
Fracture blisters are either filled with blood or clear fluid. What is in the blister depends on the extent of skin involvement. Whether there is blood or fluid in the blisters treatment options are not affected, but chances of scarring are higher in blood-filled blisters.
Possible complications of fracture blisters
If you have developed fracture blisters after a fracture, your doctor will be more concerned about the appearance of infection. If your blister appeared after a surgery, then there are possible risks of wound rupture. The blister won’t allow your injury to heal properly. If the location of your blister is near to the the surgical incision, then your doctor may decide to puncture it and drain the fluid.
Scarring is another complication common with the appearance of fracture blisters, especially if your blisters are filled with blood. Your blister remains sterile as long as it is intact. Once it is broken, bacteria may seep into your skin and result in infection. Symptoms of an infection include: swelling, redness and warmth in the area, followed by possible bodily mucus drainage.
How to treat a fracture blister
Since the fluid inside blisters is sterile, you need to keep them intact and not break them. Most blisters rupture on their own, and you should keep its roof intact so that the skin beneath it can heal properly. Breaking blisters or removing their skin is not the way to treat them. There are topical treatments that can aid in the healing process of ruptured blisters, such as Silvadene Cream.
Here are a few treatment options for fracture blisters:
- Never try to pop a blister yourself. If you develop one, seek help from your doctor immediately so that they may diagnose and determine the best treatment option. If your injury does not require surgery, the blisters must be left alone to heal on their own. If it requires surgery, then your doctor may decide to wait until the blisters heal before performing surgery. The treatment method depends on: the type of your injury, the type of the blister and the number of blisters present.
- If you have a serous fracture blister, then your doctor may puncture its base with a small blade to drain out the fluid. Since the blister is a covering your skin, the site of blister itself is a layer of protection. After puncturing the blister, your doctor will apply antibiotic ointment and a special dressing to deter infection.
- If you have a hemorrhagic fracture blister, its top will not be tight, and draining fluid from it will prove to be more difficult. For treatment, the top part of the blister is removed to drain the fluid. A doctor will then apply ointment and dressing to aid healing.
- Once a doctor treats your blister, it will should soon start healing and you will see new skin forming on it. Formation of new skin usually takes 1-2 weeks. Generally, hemorrhagic fracture blisters take longer to heal than serous blisters. In order to minimize any risk of complication, you should keep your bandaged area dry and clean. Follow you doctor’s instructions carefully.
Caring for a fracture blister
As we have mentioned before, fracture blisters should not be disturbed until ruptured. If the treatment of your fracture needs surgery and if a fracture blister develops in that area, then your doctor may do the following:
- Immobilize your broken bone. They may do this by using an external fixator or a splint. Using an external fixator is often preferred over a splint, as your doctor will be able to see the skin providing for better immobilization too.
- The next step would be to elevate your leg as much as possible. If the fracture involves your tibia or ankle, then it can be elevated above your heart level by lying down and propping up the ankle.
- Your doctor may decide to delay the surgery. If a surgery is performed through a blister, the chances of wound complication are heightened, making your more prone to infection.
How Long do Fracture Blisters Last
Fracture blisters may be frightening for patients. Fracture blisters often develop after several days of injury or they may unfold after weeks or even months. A fracture blister will completely heals in several weeks time, but with effective and timely treatment, its healing time can be significantly reduced. If your injury does not need surgery, then leaving the blisters to heal on their own is the best option. However, if surgery is required, allow the blisters to heal before getting further treatment. However, a doctor may decide to puncture the blister and drain out the fluid if surgery is urgent.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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