“Almost all fractures heal anyway but this is about getting them to heal faster,” said Professor Per Aspenburg, who led the study at Linköping University.
Researchers at the university have for the first time demonstrated that bones can be encouraged to heal faster by injecting the medicine thyroxine.
The knowledge could help the 700,000 Swedes that suffer bone fractures every year, reports Sveriges Radio.
“I think that this is most important for elderly people for whom the period of rehabilitation from a broken bone is long, for example with certain types of hip fractures,” Aspenburg said.
“There are probably others that argue that this is more important for young people who need to get back to work faster and earn more money,” he added.
The study included 102 women between the ages of 45 and 85 who had passed the menopause and who had been treated for wrist fractures.
Thyroxine occurs naturally in the body and is normally used to treat brittleness of the bones.
Every second woman and every fourth man risks sustaining a fracture as a result of brittle bones.
Those participating in the study treated with the medicine experienced an average recovery time of around seven weeks. For those given a placebo the average recovery time was nine weeks.
“This is a study that shows that it can be done. There is a need for further studies to consider whether recommendations should be made. A person with a broken bone does not care how the x-ray pictures look, but how it feels,” Per Aspenburg said.