This article is meant to serve as health tips for helping your broken bone heal faster. It does not replace medical care! If you suspect that you are suffering from a fractured bone, see a doctor immediately.
Car accident, sports, or even just a bad fall. Dealing with a broken bone can be tough. Not only do you have to deal with the pain, but the disruption it causes to our school and work lives and freetime can be debilitating and downright depressing. Even just a minor leg fracture could take six to eight weeks to properly heal, and the older you are, the more time it may take.
There's no doubt that anyone who has suffered from a broken bone wants one thing more than anything else: to get fixed faster. Luckily, there are steps that you can take to make sure that your bone gets the proper nutrition and attention it needs to mend itself quickly, so that you can get back to living your action-filled life in comfort.
- Follow the doctor's orders. It should seem obvious, but no matter what you read on the Internet, your doctor should know best on how to treat you in your specific situation. If you have any concerns with your doctor's instructions, do not hesitate to approach them with any questions. Ultimately, the goal should be the same: get back to good health.
- Take in more food (especially proteins!). One study showed that patients who took 20 more grams of protein each day recovered from their fractures 40% faster than those who took similar caloric values from other sources. The patients who healed faster had greater values of IGF-1, a vital growth factor responsible for healing bone fractures. Higher protein intake is also associated with stronger bone growth during the healing process.
- Get your minerals and vitamins in...but not too much! When we think of bones, calcium is probably the first thing to come to mind, but it's important to remember to include other minerals and vitamins while you're healing. Just to name a few, watch your zinc, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, silicon, and vitamin K, C, B6, and D levels. But be aware that most of these can be taken too much, so keep to the standard recommended daily values unless otherwise instructed by your doctor.
- Exercise—carefully. Depending on the location of your fracture, your motion might be somewhat limited, but activity helps promote more blood flow, allowing your cells to function more effectively and work faster on repairing your body. Regularly applying just enough weight to the injured area can also promote faster healing, and ensure that you don't let your bones get weak from disuse. However, always make sure to consult your doctor before exerting yourself. Even if you don't feel any pain from a light workout, it doesn't necessarily mean that you're ready to get back on your feet—literally.
- Take good care of your cast or plastic compression/inflatable splint. If you have a standard plaster
or fiberglass cast, don't get it too wet, or it will lose some of its structure. If need be, use a plastic bag to cover it
up. You should also avoid sticking anything underneath the cast when you are itchy—if you happen to cut your skin open,
the dark and damp environment beneath your cast could make it easy for an infection to develop. If you have any concerns about
the integrity of your cast, or any wounds underneath, you should talk to your doctor.
If you are using a plastic inflatable cast, maintain a proper pressure to make sure that it provides enough support without harming good circulation. Carry multiple compression splints in case something happens to the one currently in use.
- Avoid the bad stuff. Some things can make it take even longer for your bones to heal! Smoking, alcohol, or too much salt, sugar, soda, or caffeine can make your bones even weaker, causing your body difficulty during the healing process.