Best Ways to Heal a Broken Bone
As someone with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, I have had a lot of experience with fractured bones over the years. Osteogenesis Imperfecta is a genetic disorder typically caused by a mutation of the collagen gene, resulting in bones that are susceptible to fracture. Nothing can be more debilitating than a broken bone, but there are some simple steps you can take to help support positive healing.
Relax Your Body for Optimal Bone Healing
Keeping comfortable and staying relaxed is very important during the bone healing process. Besides the obvious avoidance of rough activities, do not overdo activity around the house either. Healing bones is a lot of work! Give your body the rest it needs to rejuvenate.
Stay on a consistent schedule where you eat, sleep, and wake at the same times every day. This will help regulate your metabolism and conserve your energy so your body can use it for healing.
Practice deep breathing regularly throughout the day. Not only can this help with pain management, but can also help your muscles relax so they are not putting unnecessary strain on your bones.
Fuel Your Body with Bone Healing Nutrients
Healing a broken bone puts a lot of stress and strain on your body as a whole so it’s important to replenish your body with the energy it will burn during the healing process.
Protein is essential for every day energy and can be even more important when you are focused on healing. Keeping up your protein intake can help ensure your muscles and metabolism keep up with the energy to supplement your muscles that protect the bones that are healing. Keeping your muscles strong is important while the bone is healing. When we lose muscle mass, your bones become more susceptible and less protected.
Try these high protein foods:
Peanut butter with wheat crackers, on a sandwich or toast points
Nuts like almonds, walnuts, or sunflower seeds
Lean protein like chicken or fish
Anti-inflammatory foods are important to intake during the healing process. When your body has experienced the trauma of a fracture, the tissue and bones are exposed to inflammation. Vitamin C is a good anti-inflammatory and can even support bone collagen formation.
Try some of these foods that promote anti-inflammatory properties:
Oranges, lemons, limes, and citrus fruits are high in Vitamin C
Intake lots of fruits and vegetables
Have you ever had a broken bone?
Increase your calcium and vitamin D. While calcium will not help “heal” a fractured bone faster, bone mass is largely made of minerals and regular calcium taken with a vitamin D supplement can help you maintain bone strength and prevent future bone loss. Don’t get out of the habit of taking supplements while healing a fracture.
Examples of foods rich in calcium:
Dark leafy greens like kale, chard, or broccoli
Dairy like cheese, milk, yogurt
Limit your sugar. It’s important to feed your body with nutritionally substantial food during the healing process. Limiting your intake of sugar will help keep your metabolism regulated so your body can move the energy to healing the fracture. Limiting your sugar will also help prevent energy spikes to keep the healing process steady.
Keep your Body Strong
Keeping your body strong when healing a fracture is important for your long term recovery. When you are laid up in bed or have a serious injury, it can be tempting to lay still for days and sometimes weeks on end waiting for your injury to heal. While it’s important to give your body the rest it needs, it’s important to keep up your strength.
Holding still with limited physical activity is easy to lose your strength. Once your fracture has healed you may find that your have lost a significant amount of muscle, not just around the trauma site but throughout your body as well.
While exercising while fractured may seem counterintuitive, it’s important to keep your body moving as much as possible to maintain flexibility and strength. Small impact exercise can even encourage healthy bone and muscle regeneration. Staying off of the actual site of the fracture, however is very important. Concentrate on keeping the rest of your body strong.
Talk to your doctor before engaging in any physical activity during the healing process
As long as your fracture is set in a cast, especially if it’s a fracture of the arm or leg, the rest of your body should be free to move and do simple exercises.
Try leg lifts, repetitive bending of your lower leg up and down, and ankle rolls in all directions.
Invest in 2 or 3 lb dumbbells to keep your arms strong.
Regularly stretch your muscles as much as possible to avoid locking up and feeling stiff; shoulder rolls, slow rotations of the neck, and slow side twists are good places to start.
Process of Healing a Fracture
Stay Mentally Strong
Staying mentally strong can promote positivity during the healing process.
Try different techniques like:
Keep your mind occupied through conversation with others
Practice a hobby that will not compromise your healing
Above all, laughter really can be the best medicine.
Keeping your mind strong can be just as important as keeping your body strong so you come out on the other side of healing with a positive spirit.
What Not to Do
Put away the cigarettes and alcohol
There are many scientific studies that show smokers have a tougher time healing wounds and bouncing back from injuries. Avoid smoking and alcohol use when trying to heal to try to keep your body as alkaline as possible. Alkaline vs. acidic (which smoking and drinking contribute to) can help:
Boost your energy
Shed extra pounds
Keep your body function healthy
Avoid the temptation to push your limits
After days or weeks of taking it easy and resting during the healing process, it can be tempting to tidy up the house or delve into your work. If you do not take the time you need to heal, you can compromise the healing process.
Take advantage of the downtime! When life speeds up again, yhou’ll be longing for the days where you had an excuse to take things slower.
When healing a broken bone, keep in mind that depending on the trauma, severity, and area of the body affected, fractures can take different amounts of time to heal. Keeping your body healthy, staying in good spirits, and managing your pain can be the key to getting back to your old self more quickly once the cast comes off.