While no one wants broken bones, there are things you can do to heal broken bones faster.
I’d like to talk a bit about the organs that make up the scaffolding of our bodies. I’m talking about bones. That’s right, bones are organs.
Why are bones organs? The short answer is that they contain various types of living tissue, such as blood, connective tissue, nerves, and bone tissue.
Bones are really cool, but what I really want to focus on here is how you can heal broken bones faster. Let’s start by looking at why it’s so challenging to heal broken bones quickly, as well as look at what the body does in response to a broken bone.
How to Heal Broken Bones Faster
Phase 1 – Blood Clot
The first response is bleeding. Remember, bone has blood vessels. The clotted blood collects around the bone fracture.
This clotted blood is called a hematoma, and it contains a meshwork of proteins that provide a temporary plug to fill the gap created by the break. This meshwork forms in the first few hours after a break. The response is primarily an immune system response, with macrophages releasing growth factors to stimulate capillary growth and phagocytes on cleanup duty.
Support – This phase of repair happens quickly. If you’re active in a sport that often leads to broken bones, you can manage risk by supporting your immune system before you get injured. Otherwise, the most you can do in this phase is not interfere with the normal healing process.
You want to allow the hematoma to form and capillary growth to begin. While Ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can relieve modest pain symptoms, NSAIDs work by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins and thus may interfere with normal tissue repair. Avoid Ibuprofen and NSAIDs for the first few hours.
Coffee and aspirin may interfere with clot formation. Paradoxically caffeine might be helpful (just not from coffee).
(Note: serious compound fractures, particularly to large bones, present a different scenario. Always listen to the advice of your medical professional.)
Phase 2 – Soft Callus Building
Next, a special group of cells called chondroblasts builds a cartilage callus made primarily from collagen in place of the clot (hematoma). It acts to splint the broken bone. This stage can last anywhere from 4 days to 3 weeks.
Support – In this phase, you can heal broken bones faster by supporting the building of the callus with foods and nutrients that encourage collagen production. Zinc, magnesium, and omega-3 fats are all important nutrients. L-Lysine is an amino acid that is critical to collagen formation. The herbal supplement Terminalia chebula (Haritaki) may help stimulate the chondroblasts building the callus.
A healthy intake of protein is also important. If you’re not already eating a clean diet, now would a great time to cut back on alcohol, salt, sugar, and refined grains. You might want to dump sodas and any other drinks with phosphoric acid too.
Phase 3 – Hard Bone Formation
In phase 3, osteoblast cells create new bone. The bony callus replaces the cartilage with a callus made of spongy bone. Osteocytes absorb minerals to make it hard. This stage typically begins 2 weeks after the break and ends somewhere between the 6th and 12th week.
Support – In the new bone creation phase, you can heal broken bones faster by supporting osteoblast function with a mineral rich diet and Vitamin D3. Herbal supplements that support osteoblasts include Semen cuscutae and Cistanche tubulosa. Supporting healthy kidney function will also speed healing. Phyllanthus niruri supports the kidneys and may improve blood calcium levels.
Phase 4 – Remodeling
Finally, osteoclasts remodel the repair, breaking down and removing extra bone and returning it to its original shape. Stress placed on the bone can affect the remodeling. Bone remodeling is a very slow process lasting anywhere from 3-9 years.
Support – Sleep and exercise are the number one and two supports that you can give your body to heal broken bones faster and help with the remodeling. Eating right and generally aiming to optimize your health will help complete the healing process as well. Ocimum sanctum, Terminalia chebula, and Cistanche tubulosa may make your exercise plan more effective.
How to Heal Broken Bones Faster
While no one wants a broken bone, there are things you can do to hasten the healing process. Remember: You can heal broken bones faster if you give your bones the immune system, nutrient, and herbal support they need during the blood clot, soft callus building, hard bone formation, and remodeling phases.