New Insights in Understanding and Treating Bone Fracture Pain

Stefanie A.T. Mitchell, Lisa A. Majuta, Patrick W. Mantyh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: This paper describes recent advances in understanding the mechanisms that drive fracture pain and how these findings are helping develop new therapies to treat fracture pain. Recent Findings: Immediately following fracture, mechanosensitive nerve fibers that innervate bone are mechanically distorted. This results in these nerve fibers rapidly discharging and signaling the initial sharp fracture pain to the brain. Within minutes to hours, a host of neurotransmitters, cytokines, and nerve growth factor are released by cells at the fracture site. These factors stimulate, sensitize, and induce ectopic nerve sprouting of the sensory and sympathetic nerve fibers which drive the sharp pain upon movement and the dull aching pain at rest. If rapid and effective healing of the fracture occurs, these factors return to baseline and the pain subsides, but if not, these factors can drive chronic bone pain. Summary: New mechanism-based therapies have the potential to fundamentally change the way acute and chronic fracture pain is managed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-332
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Osteoporosis Reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • Genetic disorders
  • Geriatric
  • Nerve growth factor
  • Nociceptors
  • Pediatric
  • Skeletal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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