Writer / Dr. Ryan Kozlowski, Orthopedic Surgeon at IU Health West Hospital
Broken bones can happen to anyone of any age. The difference, however, is that it’s much easier to heal and bounce back from a broken bone when you’re 6 years old versus 60. Recovering from a bone fracture later in life requires time and patience. Here are three ways to help the healing process and get back on your feet.
Use rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE).
Following the RICE treatment after a fracture will help reduce the pain and swelling, and promote healing. During each stage, ensure that you do not overdo it or overstress your body. Your main goal should be to decrease pain and increase comfort.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
After a fracture, it’s normal to want to get back to the activities you were doing prior to your injury. However, if you jump into those activities too soon and without guidance, you could end up injuring yourself even more. Just like our muscles, exercise makes our bones stronger. Talk with your doctor about what types of physical activity are appropriate for your injury. Your doctor may recommend some at-home exercises or physical therapy. Incorporating regular, low-impact movement into your daily routine will help increase blood flow to the injury.
A balanced diet will not only help your fracture heal, but also help prevent future fractures. Yogurt, fish, nuts, beans, eggs and vegetables are good sources of protein and calcium that can help speed up recovery.
Break up with smoking.
One of the best ways to help your broken bone is by breaking your smoking habit. Not only is smoking bad for your overall health, but it also increases your risk of bone fractures and slows down the healing process. Your bones need a healthy supply of blood in order to heal. Smoking restricts blood flow to your bones and prevents bones from receiving what they need to heal, including calcium and oxygen.
To make sure your fracture is healing properly, schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor to check on your recovery process. A follow-up appointment will also allow your physician to adjust your recovery plan and suggest additional treatment tips based on the progress you’ve made.