How Did They Treat Broken Bones in Ancient Times?

Broken bones have been a common injury since the beginning of human history. Even in ancient times, people suffered from broken bones, but the methods used to treat them were very different from modern medicine. In this article, we will explore how broken bones were treated in ancient times.

Ancient Egyptians

The ancient Egyptians were known for their advanced medical knowledge and techniques. They believed that the body was made up of channels or pathways, and if one of these channels was blocked or damaged, it could cause illness or injury.

When it came to treating broken bones, the ancient Egyptians used a mixture of herbs and oils to create a plaster cast around the affected area. The cast was then left in place for several weeks to allow the bone to heal. The Egyptians also used splints made from wood or reeds to stabilize broken limbs.

Ancient Greeks

The ancient Greeks were also renowned for their medical knowledge and advancements. Hippocrates, considered the father of modern medicine, lived during this time period and wrote extensively on medical treatment.

The Greeks believed that broken bones needed to be immobilized in order for them to heal properly. They used a variety of materials for splints including leather, linen, and wooden boards. In some cases, they even used animal bones as splints.

Medieval Times

During medieval times, medical knowledge took a step backward as superstition and religion became more prominent. Many people believed that broken bones were caused by demonic possession or punishment from God.

Despite this belief system, some progress was made in treating broken bones during this time period. Simple splints made from wood or metal were used to immobilize injured limbs. However, these splints often caused more harm than good because they were not padded and could cause pressure sores.

The Renaissance

During the Renaissance period, medical advancements began to accelerate once again. The Italian surgeon Ambroise Paré is credited with revolutionizing the treatment of broken bones during this time period.

Paré developed a new technique for treating broken bones that involved gently pulling the affected limb back into alignment before applying a splint or cast. This technique became known as “reduction” and is still used in modern medicine today.


In conclusion, broken bones have been a common injury throughout human history. While the methods used to treat them have evolved over time, the goal has always been the same: to immobilize the affected area and promote healing. From ancient Egyptians using herbs and oils to create plaster casts, to modern medicine using high-tech materials like fiberglass, we have come a long way in treating broken bones.