Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Five Tips for Recovering from a Leg Fracture

Every year, nearly seven million people receive medical attention for fractured bones. Some of the most common fractures that people experience involve the bones in the leg, specifically the tibia and fibula.

When you’re suffering from a leg fracture, it can be incredibly frustrating to be bedridden for weeks while your bone heals. Luckily, there are some things you can do to make the recovery process go by a bit quicker. Read on to learn more about what you can do to speed things up.

Typical Leg Fracture Recovery Time

While there are things you can do to speed up the recovery process somewhat, there’s no getting around the fact that you have a broken bone. A certain amount of time is required for healing, no matter how diligent you are with your post-injury treatments.

Before getting into the different ways you can expedite your recovery, it’s important to understand the average amount of time it will take for your leg fracture to heal.

Generally speaking, following a leg fracture, you will be in a cast for 6-8 weeks. After that, you’ll likely have to undergo several weeks of physical therapy to strengthen your leg and improve your mobility.

Factors that Affect Recovery Time

As with any type of medical procedure, there are certain factors that affect your recovery time when dealing with a leg fracture. Some of the most well-known factors that influence recovery include:
  • Age (older patients tend to heal more slowly than younger patients)
  • Severity of the break (a break of the femur will take longer to heal than a break of the tibia or fibula)
  • Presence of infection
  • Disturbances to the blood supply
  • Being a smoker
  • Joint damage in addition to the fracture
Top Five Tips for Speeding Up Recovery

Listed below are some steps you can take to speed up the recovery process and help your leg fracture heal a bit faster.

1. Don’t Bear Weight Too Early

After putting your leg in a cast, your doctor will likely tell you to avoid putting weight on your leg for several weeks or even months. Listen to this advice. Bearing weight too early slows down the healing process and could make your injury worse.

During this time, utilize crutches, a walker, or even a post-surgery assistive device like a leg lifter strap to help you move without putting pressure on your fractured leg.

2. Drink Plenty of Water

You should be staying hydrated all the time anyway, but it’s especially important when you’re dealing with a leg fracture. Staying hydrated will help your body work as efficiently as possible to heal your fracture and get you back on your feet.

3. Get Plenty of Sleep

It’s also important to make sure you’re sleeping enough while you let your leg heal. Sleep is essential for recovery -- in fact, that’s when most of the body’s growth hormone is produced.

Depending on the cause of the injury that led to your leg fracture, you may also be dealing with some residual trauma and anxiety. Sleep can help you manage these feelings better.

4. Eat a Bone-Strengthening Diet

When you’re recovering from a leg fracture, it may be tempting to lounge on the couch and eat nothing but junk food all day. But, eating a healthy, balanced diet could actually help your bone to heal faster.

Make sure you’re consuming plenty of calcium and vitamin D-rich foods, such as full-fat dairy, broccoli, leafy green vegetables, fish, egg yolks, and almonds. You should also consume plenty of protein from meat, fish, and soy products.

5. Go to Physical Therapy

Finally, make sure you go to physical therapy regularly once your cast comes off to learn exercises to improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion.

Be sure to actually do the exercises your physical therapist gives you, too. Going to your appointments once a week and then refusing to do any work on your own isn’t going to yield good results.

Final Thoughts

If you’re currently dealing with a leg fracture, don’t give up. Keep these tips in mind to improve your recovery and help you get back on your feet as soon as possible.

This is a guest blog entry.

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