Fracture Recovery: Good Habits Ensure Healing after Surgery

No matter how large or small the injury, breaking a bone is a traumatic event.  "There's a big psychological component to breaking a bone," says Matthew S. Grunkemeyer, M.D.  "It's hard when a patient has a fracture that requires surgery because in an instant they go from healthy and active to being limited for as much as a few months."

Fortunately, Dr. Grunkemeyer says simple steps can make a big impact on recovery.  "Listen to your doctor's instructions and follow his or her advice.  For example, I always recommend my patients take multivitamins to get the minerals, such as calcium, that the body requires to repair bone."  Likewise, a healthy and balanced diet is essential.  "You are asking the body to generate the energy required to build back a broken bone, so good nutrition is crucial," Dr. Grunkemeyer says.

Another big factor is avoiding tobacco.  "Nicotine clamps down on the tiny blood vessels that delivery blood to the fracture site and promote healing.  I emphasize the importance of avoiding smoking during the recovery period because many studies have shown that ceasing nicotine intake accelerates healing.  And, in an ideal world, the break from smoking can serve as an opportunity for the patient to quit smoking permanently," Dr. Grunkemeyer adds.