Although the time required to heal a bone fracture depends upon the health and age of the patient as well as the severity of the fracture, it generally takes several weeks to several months to heal, reports American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 1. Recovery from a fractured bone can be frustrating and time consuming, but nutrition, rest, medical treatment and lifestyle habits may play a part in speeding up the healing of a fractured bone.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Consume Proper Nutrition
When your fractured bone is healing, it requires more energy while it is mending. To fuel this extra energy, your body needs more calories. The amount of caloric intake increase your body needs to heal a fractured bone depends upon your size, weight and the severity of the break. For example, an injured, bedridden patient may need three times more calories than he normal does while mending a fractured bone, explains Osteoporosis Nutritionist Dr. Susan E. Brown, Ph.D.
Not only is it important to increase your caloric intake during your fractured bone recovery phase, but it is important to ingest more protein and calcium in your diet. Calcium and protein are important building blocks of bones, which are needed in your bone healing process. A daily multivitamin will help to provide additional vitamins such as vitamins B6, C, D and K as well as the minerals zinc and copper. Your doctor can provide you with specifics dietary changes necessary during your recovery.
Get Plenty of Rest
Some minor bone fractures such as stress fractures heal with rest, according to Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center 3. Avoid the activity that caused the fracture. Your doctor may have placed a cast, brace or splint on the fractured bone to keep it immobilized. You may need the aid of crutches or a wheel chair to keep your fractured bone from moving. In some cases, you may need bed rest to properly heal the fracture.
Seek Medicinal Treatment
Along with rest, ice packs may be used to reduce swelling. Your doctor may tell you to use anti-inflammatory drugs to help relieve pain and calm the inflammation causes by the bone fracture. In some bone fractures, exercise is recommended to provide increased circulation and flow of nutrients to the healing fracture. Speak with your doctor to advise you on the types of exercise you can do to help heal your fracture. For severe or open fractures, surgery may be necessary.
Change Lifestyle Habits
Smoking can delay the healing of a fractured bone and make you twice as likely to get an infection, states Dr. Susan E. Brown, PhD 2. To reduce your likelihood of an infection and improve your fracture healing time, cease smoking until your fractured bone is completely healed. Similarly, alcohol abuse may increase your risk of infection, which may impact healing time.
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