This is the age old question isn’t it? “Doc, so how long will it take for this thing to heal?”
Where to begin on this seemingly so easy a question? There are so many factors to take into consideration. This explains why you will hear doctors say “on average…” or “typically…” We know from experience, and what we’ve read in the mountains of medical literature, when things are suppose to heal. This is the easy part.
Here is a very short list of when certain body parts heal:
- Bone: 6-8 weeks
- Tendons: 3-4 weeks
- Ligaments: 3-4 weeks
- Stitches: top of foot or leg: 2 weeks, bottom of the foot: 3 weeks
Simple, huh! Now for the fun part; we add the human factor to the equation and suddenly, all this simplicity flies out the window! What most patients don’t understand is why they may not fall into these criteria! There is a LAUNDRY list of the reasons why things don’t heal when they should and the number ONE reason things don’t heal when they should is that many patients (yes, I could be talking to you!) say they are listening but they are not doing what they are told to do to get them better! They cheat! Not a lot (though there is that distinguished class of patients who do!), but just a little bit! Yes, that little bit over the weeks it could take sets you back even more weeks! I have heard every excuse in the book as to why people couldn’t follow through with what I asked from them and believe me sometimes there is good reason. But all too often the reason is not all that worthy. A sampling of my favorites so far: “I walked around school in a regular shoe because the boot is ugly, but I was really good at wearing it around the house!” or “I know you told me not to, but I walked on it because I just wanted to see if it was getting better and now it hurts worse!”
Let’s keep it real. There is no guarantee that anything will heal at all much less in the intended time frame. But by not following instructions, you are just plain sabotaging your healing. We are a very small part of the healing equation. YOU MUST DO YOUR PART! Regardless of the reasons why you think you can’t, if you don’t, it will take you longer to get back to doing what you want to do in the first place! Do your part and at least give your body the chance it needs to work the miracle of healing. It really is trying and us “docs” are really trying too!