If you have suffered a fracture, you are probably itching to get it healed as soon as possible. Ultimately, it takes time for the bone to fully, and properly, repair itself. But, there are many things you can do to optimize the process and encourage a speedier recovery. Here are just a few tips to get you started on the road to recovery:
Curb Smoking and Alcohol Use
If you drink or smoke regularly, know you will be delaying the healing process significantly. Studies show smoking can increase healing time by 62 percent; and you may be in for other problems as well, such as a greater risk of infection and the bone not ever healing completely. Alcohol also delays healing, and may even be directly toxic to healing tissue. If you want to optimize fracture healing, kick these two things to the curb.
Get Enough Protein
Protein is the building block of every cell in the body, including bone. In fact, by volume, protein comprises 50 percent of bone. Whenever your body experiences any sort of injury, it starts collecting protein to repair the damaged tissue. Increasing protein intake by 10 to 20 grams a day while nursing a fracture may significantly decrease healing time. Protein requirements vary depending on age and gender, with adult men requiring 56 grams a day and adult women requiring 46.
Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
On one hand, inflammation is a necessary component of bone healing—it alerts the body something is wrong, and all the wonderful healing substances can make their way to the damaged area. But, excessive inflammation can be damaging and slow the healing process. Eating foods rich in antioxidants can help curb the negative effects of the harmful substances produced by the injured bone, substances that promote inflammation. Your best bet for increasing antioxidant intake is eating a range of fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors. Omega-3 fatty acids are also good—they aid the body in producing anti-inflammatory hormones.
Several herbal remedies may help speed bone healing, but it is important you educate yourself on proper use. Some may not be appropriate when using specific medications, or if you have certain health conditions. Like drugs, they can cause negative reactions in the body when used in these circumstances.
Comfrey has a long history of use for healing bone fractures, and is actually referred to as ‘knit-bone.’ It is best used as a tea. Horsetailgrass, which is high in silicon, is particularly good when taken in the earlier stages of healing.
Bromelain and turmeric are great for reducing excess inflammation in the body. Vitamin C is crucial to bone health, as is vitamin B6. Copper and zinc are also key for their roles in bone formation, collagen production and forming bone protein.
Strong blood circulation is essential for proper bone healing—the blood delivers all sorts of important substances necessary for healing such as nutrients from the food you eat. Nothing will get the blood flowing like a good exercise session—just be careful not to put any undue stress on the healing bone.
By following the above tips, you will create an optimal environment for healing.