Imagine you’re at the gym for the gazillionth time this year, your a Pro you know everyone on a first name basis! Not just that, your the main go to person for advice for all the newbies. On your way to the running machine you High-5 every gym minion on the way because you know what Your The Man! You step on the treadmill start running and all of a sudden CRACK! Followed by instant pain and the impending feeling of doom approaches as your flung of the treadmill. You’ve broken your ankle! Fast forward a week, you can’t wait to get better, you want to head back to your place of comfort the gym, you want to get back into routine and get back on with life. You want to recover fast! This post is for you.
Whether you’ve got a broken arm, leg, ankle or wrist, they’re all made of bones! According to A Journal written by Marsell, R hosted on ScienceDirect bone healing time is around 3-8 weeks for the majority of cases. Obviously this is dependent on factors such as age and health etc. It’s also worth noting that for the bone to fully heal it can take years but worry not there are steps you can take to help you heal faster.
The Healing Process
Mahamutha Affshana.M et al the author of Healing Mechanism in bone fracture explains there are 3 stages to the healing process of bone:
- Reaction – which involves the inflammation stage, it’s probably safe to assume this part of the healing process is the most painful as it normally occurs not long after the initial break. Blood supply within the bone is constricted to stop further bleeding but blood supply around the bone increases to aid recovery.
- Repair – A week or so later the cells where the bone is broken begin to replicate until they unite bridging the gap between the area where the bone is separated.
- Remodeling – This is where the healing takes shape. The bone healing process or remodeling begins as early as 3-4 weeks but can take 3-5 years to fully complete. Remodeling is where the fractured callus begins to resemble the original bone before it broke both in shape and strength.
Things That Can Slow Down Recovery
Everyone is different and each bone injury has its own characteristics. For example the severity of the break or the location. There are some factors which may or may not be in your control when understanding the recovery rate of a broken bone.
- Nutrition – your diet can affect your recovery time, in fact your general health can have an impact on the rate your bones heal.
- Medication – especially those that affect the inflammatory response. This one is a sort of Catch-22. You would expect taking anti inflammatory drugs help with the healing process but in fact this is probably not the case. Anti inflammatory drugs, as the name suggests, help reduce the inflammation in turn reducing the pain. Ironically the inflammation actually helps your body heal faster because it allows blood to surround the injury bringing the much needed blood which contains all the components to aid recovery of the bone.
- Infections – If you get an infection it sort of side tracks your body into fighting the infection instead spreading its time healing. Of Course you want the infection to be gone before your body starts to recover but nevertheless it can increase the time of recover.
- Age – this is probably out of your control and it’s just the case that younger bones heal faster
- Alignment – you want to be sure that you don’t keep disrupting the broken area because you need to it align correctly and start to heal. It’s probably best to rest it as much as possible, but you already knew that!
Natural Steps You Could Take to Aid Healing
Doctors often suggest having a good diet and eating healthy foods. Of course this can help speed up recovery of your broken bone. One natural way is by eating foods rich in bone healing goodness! Increase your intake Calcium and Vitamin D – there is a difference! Vitamin D helps your body absorb Calcium.
Of Course you will need to get your levels checked from you GP or Physician because it is possible to overdose on these. Foods you could introduce into your diet could be of the following:
Foods Rich in Vitamin D
- Egg yolks
- Oily fish like mackerel and salmon
- Fortified cereals
Foods Rich in Calcium
- Soy beans
- White beans
- Raw milk
- Fish like sardines and salmon
But before you even start, you need to be taking some sort of magnesium because research suggests that to absorb calcium your body needs magnesium. According to Paunier L author of a journal called, Effect of magnesium on phosphorus and calcium metabolism, suggests that those individuals who are deficient in magnesium are likely to be resistant to pharmacological doses of Vitamin D. Conveniently those foods that are rich in magnesium are sometimes rich in calcium to such as:
- Flaxseeds, pumpkin and chia seeds
Studies also show that increasing Vitamin C can also promote the healing of bones. A study done in a Journal called The Roles and Mechanisms of Actions of Vitamin C in Bone: New Developments by Aghajanian, P et al, 2016 states that Vitamin C has a positive effect on bone formation, “by influencing expression of bone matrix genes in osteoblasts.” So having a glass of orange juice or upping your daily dose of fruit and veg almost surely increasing your chances of a speedy recovery.
Sunlight, Vitamin D and Bone Strength
Your body naturally produces Vitamin D when exposed to the Sun but if you live where I do not everyone can be so lucky. For people like me, our options include eating foods rich in Vitamin D or a supplement.
Other Natural Methods of Strengthening your Bones include vibration therapy. A journal called Whole-body vibration exercise in postmenopausal osteoporosis, written by Weber-Rajek, M et al, 2015 states “Whole body vibration increases the level of growth hormone and testosterone in serum, preventing sarcopenia and osteoporosis.” The article goes on to suggest the physical exercise as component to vibration therapy promoted bone formation as it exerts pressure which stimulates growth hormone which prevents weakening of bones. Maybe vibration therapy is on option for an alternative to high impact body workouts to avoid injury and promote bone recovery.
Broken bones can seriously affect your day to day life, but it’s not the end of the world. The good news is that it will recover eventually. Just remember to take small steps to help you recover and try some of the tips above! Always remember to get personal advice always consult your GP. Be vigilant and take care of yourself.