Fractures—or breaks in bone—are serious business!
Not only can they be painful and inhibit your activities of daily living, they can potentially lead to problems in the future if they don’t repair and rejuvenate properly.
In the case of aging people, a bone break can be far worse—even life-threatening.
The good news is that there are bone and joint care steps you can take to help rejuvenate broken bones naturally.
1. Make healthy eating choices
Specific nutrients give your body support for bone and joint growth, maintenance, and repair.
Amino acids (i.e., the building blocks of protein) and vitamins, such as Vitamin D, C, and K, are other types of nutrients that help with the recuperation process. In addition, antioxidants like Vitamin C and astaxanthin can help combat oxidative stress that results in fractures and interfere with your immune system’s response to repair and regrow bone.
These nutrients are available in foods. For picky eaters, specially formulated supplements might be a simpler way to go. It’s important to check with your physician before adding a supplement to your daily regimen.
Cutting out or reducing the intake of certain foods, such as fast food, soda, excessive sugar, salt, and fat may be beneficial, too, as they can affect the calcium levels in your body and thus interfere with the bone regeneration.
2. Stay as active as you are able
Any time there’s pain and reduced movement in the body, it’s easy to think that it’s best to stop exercising until you’ve healed.
Consult with your doctor to see if you should do any other types of exercise during your recovery as exercise has a host of benefits for general health and wellness.
Targeted exercises can improve circulation and bring nutrients to the broken area.
How should you exercise with a bone fracture? Dr. Susan E. Brown, Ph.D., suggests on Women’s Health Network to perform exercises that target range of motion and joint loading for the specific area of the body. In other words, exercises that allow you to move your limb around to its fullest extent (without pain) as well as resist a weighted force.
Again, it’s best to learn specific exercises from your doctor or a physical therapist.
3. Avoid overcompensating
In addition to healthy nutrition and specific exercise, you can take other lifestyle steps to promote bone repair.
Our brains intuitively pick up the slack for the weak and injured parts of our bodies. For example, if you break a bone in your lower leg, you can expect that you’ll walk gingerly on that leg, most likely with a limp. Limping makes it easier for the leg that’s broken, but the other leg (and perhaps your upper body if you’re using a cane or crutch) is now working extra hard!
Compensation is a natural reaction to an injury…but in the long run, overcompensating may lead to more issues like muscular imbalances, tightness, etc.
In our lower leg fracture example, wouldn’t it be a shame that after the fracture has healed you now have to tend to the soreness in your “healthy” knee from all the overuse?
Consult your physician to avoid instances of overcompensation so you can have a smooth transition back to your normal life after your fracture has healed!
Other things you should know about bones
We mentioned above that making healthy eating choices is an integral part of bone health and repair, let’s dive into why.
When a fracture occurs, your body needs more of these same minerals to rebuild.
If you aren’t getting enough of these minerals through the foods you eat, other areas and more vital processes of your body may utilize them instead.
While you might be thinking that a broken bone qualifies as an area in extreme need of nutrients, our brains and the automatic mechanisms of our bodies ultimately determine where nutrients go and when. This is similar to how our bodies prioritize where water is utilized when we’re dehydrated: water can be shuttled from joint tissues to places like the brain and heart in order to survive.
That being said, it’s extremely important that you get adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in the wake of a fracture.
By providing your body a steady supply of bone-building minerals, you ensure that your body is not only receiving enough nutrients to fix the break but also keep other physiological processes going, like your immune system.