1) No drinking. It is best to abstain from alcohol while healing a broken bone. To
heal properly, bone cells must first form a ‘matrix,’ which later hardens into bone.
Alcohol consumption changes the makeup of this matrix and decreases the ability
to respond to signals that normally trigger bone formation after a fracture.
2) No smoking. Patients who smoke, have a much longer average time to healing, and
a much higher risk of developing a nonunion (non-healing of the bone). Smoking alters
the blood flow to bone, and it is that blood flow that delivers the necessary nutrients
and cells to allow the bone to heal.
3) Eliminate caffeine. Coffee, colas, and other caffeinated drinks increase the rate
of calcium loss through the urine, and you need that calcium for bone building!
4) Eat a balanced diet that includes the recommended amount of calcium. For a quick
listing of great foods for encouraging bone health, check out the list below.
5) Follow doctor’s orders concerning your treatment plan. *If you are told to use
crutches, use them. *If you are told to rest the injury, rest it. *If you are told
to move the joint to restore full mobility, move it!!
6) Don’t overdo! You may feel better on some days than others, but you still need
to pace yourself to conserve the energy resources you body needs to use for healing.
7) Stay happy! Read engaging books, watch comedies and movies with happy endings,
call or e-mail an encouraging friend, pet your dog or cat. Simple joys can create
happy moments while healing.
Take prescribed pain medications when you need them. There’s nothing heroic about
suffering when you don’t need to! On the other hand, foregoing pain medicines can
sometimes help you focus on the injury so that you can move carefully and protect
the bone and affected muscles and joints. You are the best judge of what your body
needs. If you need relief from the pain for a time, don’t hesitate to give yourself
9) Do something for someone else. Look around an you will find others with needs.
Doing something to help them will take you out of yourself and your situation, and
it will lighten their load–and yours! There may be something you can do physically,
even with your current limitations. But even if you can’t move, you can listen to
others. You can pray for them. Your time of healing can become a time of healing
for them, too!
10) Bless others by opening your heart to receive their help. If you refuse to allow
friends and family to help you for fear of being a “burden” or for fear of losing
your independence, you are robbing them of the blessing and happiness they would
experience by giving of themselves to you.
Nutrients to Promote Bone Healing
Calcium is the most well known nutrient for bone health. About 99% of the calcium
in the body is in the bones and teeth.
The 1% amount of calcium in the blood is not influenced by the amount ingested. If
there is too much, the excess is excreted through the urine. If there is too little,
a "mineral bank" is available in the bones. In other words, if you do not eat enough
calcium, your blood will take it from your bones. This is why it is important to
eat foods high in calcium, especially while healing a broken bone.
Foods include milk (fat-free or low-fat), calcium fortified orange juice, sardines
(with bones), salmon, tofu, and blackstrap molasses.
About 85% of phosphorus in the body is combined with calcium in the crystals of the
bones and teeth as calcium phosphate, the chief compound that gives them strength
Most foods contain phosphorus. Lean meat and fish are especially helpful sources
of phosphorus for bone health.
Vitamin D increases the blood level of calcium and phosphorus.
Food sources include salmon, shrimp, tuna, and egg yolk. Exposing your arms and face
(without sunscreen) to the sun's rays for a few minutes (each day) will make vitamin
D from cholesterol.
According to research, lysine increases the amount of calcium being absorbed into
the matrix of the bone.
Most foods high in protein are high in lysine. This includes poultry, fish, eggs,
and dairy products (fat-free or low-fat). Other foods include kidney beans, peanuts,
sesame seeds, apples, and spinach.
Boron plays a role in healing broken bones by reducing urinary excretion of both
calcium and magnesium.
Foods include raisins, avocados, walnuts, lentils, red grapes, and celery.
Vitamin C and Zinc
Vitamin C is needed to make collagen and zinc is also important for tissue repair.
Foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, broccoli, tomato, papaya, and kiwi.
Foods high in zinc include spinach, sea vegetables, pumpkin seeds, collard greens,
vitamin K (parsley, spinach, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale)
silica (outer coverings of potatoes, cucumbers, and green and red peppers).
Foods to Avoid
Proper nutrition for broken bones also involves avoiding foods that can rob the bones
of important nutrients. This includes sugar, salt, hydrogenated oils (found in many
processed foods), red meat, whole milk, caffeine (including chocolate), soft drinks
and other carbonated drinks, and alcohol.
If you smoke, quit. Cigarette smoke is loaded with toxic chemicals that can damage
the cells needed for bone formation.
Nutrition's Role In Increasing The Speed Of Bone Healing
The most important influences on fracture healing are nutrition and overall health,
including bone health, before the injury. That's why it's so important all your life
to do weight-bearing exercise such as walking and get enough calcium and vitamin
D, so you lay down as much bone as possible during growth and keep as much as you
can later on.