In this article, we have provided some important guidelines that will help in healing broken bones and ensure a faster recovery, when followed properly. Read on to know more…
Bones get fractured either due to a traumatic injury or by pathological factors like nutritional deficiency or degeneration of bones due to aging or diseases like osteoporosis. Whatever be the cause of fracture, the mechanism of healing broken bones remains the same. As soon as the bone suffers a fracture, the area gets inflamed and bleeding occurs.
The blood clots and the inflamed soft tissues give temporary support to the bone structure. Within a few hours, growth of soft bone tissues starts at a rapid pace which replaces the blood clots in the area. In the next 3-4 days, these cells multiply rapidly and join the broken ends of the bones. With passage of time, calcium deposits on the new, soft tissues and hardens them. In the next few months, growth of bone tissues continues and the normal shape and alignment of the bones is restored.
A patient with a broken bone should be rushed to the emergency room for treatment where severity of the bone fracture is ascertained with the help of x-rays. The fractured bone has to be kept in an immobile state so that the broken pieces of bones are properly aligned. To prevent any movements of the fractured part, doctors first put the injured area on a splint. This device provides support and protection to the bone temporarily. Later on, it is put in a cast in order to set the bones together. A cast is nothing but a big bandage that encloses the entire injured area. It consists an inner soft layer on which the skin is rested and a tough outer layer that prevents any movements of the broken bones.
In certain types of bone fractures like compound fractures where the skin around the fractured bone is broken, the bones are realigned by surgical means. Here, the damaged part of the bones is repaired with the help of plates, screws, wires, etc. Then the cast is used to restrict the movements of the treated bone. After the bone heals, physical therapy is used to add strength and mobility to the affected body part. Physical therapists recommend some exercises that can enhance its range of motion.
For healing faster, a nutritious diet is a must. Poor nutrition can delay the healing process unnecessarily. Calcium plays a vital role in healing broken bones naturally by promoting growth of strong and healthy bones. Milk, tofu, salmon, beans, almonds are some of the important food sources of calcium. Besides, your doctor may recommend calcium supplements.
Vitamin D facilitates better absorption of calcium in the body. Foods like butter, cheese, eggs, sardines, fresh tuna and cod liver oil can supply a good amount of vitamin D. Your body can prepare its own vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.
Vitamin C present in citrus fruits, strawberries, brussels sprouts, parsley etc is also very important to improve the healing process.
Some foods need to be avoided during this time. Refined carbohydrates tend to eliminate calcium from the body and should not be consumed. Phosphates present in soda, mayonnaise, processed foods interferes with absorption of calcium into the bones. Hence, one should stay away from such foods.
Smoking often increases the healing time as it narrows down the blood vessels and thus the blood flow to the injured area decreases. As a result, sufficient nutrients needed for healing do not reach the affected area and thus, delay the healing process further.
The time taken for the healing process largely depends on the age and health condition of the person and the size and location of the broken bone. A small-sized bone will obviously heal up faster and will take 4-6 weeks. On the other hand, a larger bone may require 2-3 months to recover completely. Healing time for degenerated bones may require much longer as the normal healing mechanism is badly impaired.