Healing a broken bone takes time, and many patients don't want to be patient! Healing a broken bone is a process related to factors including patient age, overall health, nutrition, blood flow to the bone, and treatment.
Time Required: weeks
Some of these recommendations may be controversial, or unknown the extent to which they affect bone healing. However, this much is clear. Patients who smoke, have a much longer average time to healing, and a much higher risk of developing a nonunion (non-healing of the bone). Smoking alters the blood flow to bone, and it is that blood flow that delivers the necessary nutrients and cells to allow the bone to heal.
Eat a Balanced Diet:
Healing of bone requires more nutrients that the body needs to simply maintain bone health. Patients with injuries should eat a balanced diet, and ensure adequate nutritional intake of all food groups.
Watch Your Calcium:
Patients with broken bones tend to focus on this one, and I place it below balanced diet, because the focus should be on all nutrients. It's true that calcium is needed to heal bones, but taking excessive doses of calcium will not help you heal faster.
Ensure you are consuming the recommended dose of calcium, and if not, try to consume more natural calcium--or consider a supplement. Taking mega-doses of calcium does not help a bone heal faster.
Adhere to Your Treatment Plan:
Your doctor will recommend a treatment, and you should adhere to this. Your doctor may recommend treatments including cast, surgery, crutches, or others. Altering the treatment ahead of scedule may delay your recovery. By removing a cast or walking on a broken bone before your doctor allows, you may be delaying your healing time.
Ask Your Doctor:
There are some fractures that may have treatment alternatives. For example, "Jones" fractures of the foot are a conroversial treatment area. Studies have shown these fractures usually heal with immobilization in a cast and crutches. However, many doctors will offer surgery for these fractures because patients tend to heal much faster.
Surgery creates potential risks, so these options much be weighed carefully. However, there may be options which alter the time it takes for a bone to heal.
Augmenting Fracture Healing:
Most often, external devices are not too helpful in accelerating fracture healing. The following devices have not been shown to accelerate the healing of most fractures. However, in difficult situations, these may be helpful to aid in healing of broken bones: