Stress fractures are common overuse injuries for active people, especially if you’re a runner. Running and walking stress the bones in your feet, which can lead to a small crack or bruise on your bone. But what you do after your injury impacts how long it takes to get back to your exercise of choice and how well your fracture heals.
Rushing recovery after a stress fracture and returning to walking or running before you’re fully healed can cause a complete fracture and longer healing times with more invasive treatments.
Our team at The Woodlands Sports Medicine Centre in The Woodlands, Texas, specializes in orthopedic surgery and sports medicine and offers treatment for stress fractures when they don’t heal independently. Here’s how to improve the healing of your stress fracture and help prevent the need for surgery.
Improve stress fracture healing
Time is the key factor when it comes to healing your stress fracture. Most stress fractures heal on their own when given time to do so, but you can help things along with the following tips:
Heal from the inside with proper nutrition
The foods you consume have a significant impact on how well you heal from a stress fracture. Make sure you’re eating a balanced, nutritious, protein-based diet, and supplement with daily vitamins as needed to get the recommended dose of vitamin E, vitamin C, and calcium.
Give your body the rest it needs
You’re probably eager to get back to running or walking as soon as possible, but you need to rest your fracture to allow it to heal. Our team at The Woodlands Sports Medicine Centre will let you know when you can return to light or regular activity, but in the meantime keep weight off your affected foot as much as possible.
Improve blood flow by quitting smoking
Having good blood flow helps your bones heal, and one of the best ways to improve blood flow is to quit smoking if you’re a smoker. A Bone & Joint Research study shows that stress fracture healing time for smokers is much longer than for nonsmokers. It’s believed that nicotine constricts blood vessels and prevents your bones from receiving enough nutrients.
Avoid alcohol to improve your body’s natural healing power
Excessive drinking can affect your body’s ability to send healing proteins to your broken bone, according to a Loyola University Medical Center study. Avoiding alcohol helps promote your body’s natural healing processes.
How we help with stress fractures
Most stress fractures only require a splint or cast along with rest to heal. If you’re up and around too soon, it could lead to more invasive treatment to heal properly, which extends the amount of time required for you to recover.
If you suspect you have a stress fracture, visit The Woodlands Sports Medicine Centre for diagnostic imaging and to ensure there are no loose bone fragments or tissue damage to worry about. We’ll cast or splint your fracture as necessary and provide a physical therapy program to rebuild your strength once your stress fracture can support your weight again.
Call The Woodlands Sports Medicine Centre today or request a consultation online now.