The story goes -
In early July of this year I got into a fight (yes, that's right, a fight!). I strapped on my ice skating shoes and got into the rink for the second time ever in my life (my first was when I was 15, which was, like, you know, um, 3 years ago!). Oh, the fun we had! Until I fell freakishly and felt the pain radiating out from my right ankle. I don't know which hurt more, giving birth naturally or spraining an ankle.
Except, it was not a sprained ankle. It was a fractured one.
And the rest, as we say, is history.
Injuries are not uncommon. While I was healing I came across many different others that were injured, so hopefully this article (focused on bone healing) can help you or a friend/loved ones have a smoother road during the recovering phase. Also, when you properly heal your injuries, you will be able to move better and decrease your re-injury rate down the road!
The quickie on how the body heal when it comes to (bone) injuries:
1. Inflammation - Pain, swelling and redness (heat). The physical injury leads to cell death. The inflammation is the body sending a cleaning crew to sweep out the dead stuff and replace with new cells. This clean up crew include a host of chemicals, plasmas and blood proteins.
Although painful and irritating, we need the inflammatory process for repair. Without inflammation, injuries wouldn’t heal. So any attempt to eliminate inflammation is a mistake in the initial stages of an acute injury. - Precision Nutrition on inflammation
* Please note that chronic injury is a different story, as prolong inflammation can be harmful.
2. Soft Callus formation - Pain and swelling decrease and new bone starts to form. At this point they are weaker than healthy bones.
3. Hard Callus formation - New bones continues to form and covering the incomplete soft callus.
4. Remodeling - The injured site makes any adjustment necessary to resemble a healthy bone. This stage can take up to few years to occur and the bone goes through different healing phases. Eventually the healed bone reassembles the strength and shape of the original bone. (Myth: new bones are stronger, which is not true.)
Now, the fun stuff! What to eat to help with healing:
For anti-inflammatory - High omega 3 foods such as fish, nuts, and healthy oils. A fish oil supplement is a great option. Fruits such as pineapple and papaya is great because they have proteolytic enzymes. Other foods to include are garlic, turmeric, green tea and berries. My favorite go to for turmeric supplement is from Thorne Research.
For bone reforming and healing -
Protein: It is important to have adequate amount of protein as this is the building block of your muscles and cartilage. Meat from healthy sources, legumes, and supplements.
Healthy and balanced fats: 1:1:1 parts of fats in saturated (bacon, chicken), monounsaturated (nuts, avocados) and polyunsaturated fats (fish, flax).
Vegetables and fruits: The only place you can get phytonutrients, which support many different functions in your body and will help you to heal like wolverine! (ok, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration...) Not to mention all the vitamins and minerals you get here as well.
Carbs: Choose minimally processed carbs, such as brown rice and quinoa. You won't need as much as when you were training but you still need some. A good rule of thumb is to have a golf ball to fist size of carb with each meal.
How about supplements? They can be extremely useful especially in athletes and people that were more active before injury.
Arginine - To help maintain lean mass since it' likely you will not be training or training a lot less.
HMB - To help maintain lean mass since it' likely you will not be training or training a lot less.
Glutamine - To help with bone healing. (Study from NCBI)
So there you go! A quick summary of how to eat for healing and recovering so you can get back into kicking asses in no time! Do let me know if you have any questions. I'm here for you.