11 Tips for Healing a Broken Bone Faster
& Making life bearable with a foot/ankle injury
I broke my foot (jones fracture) playing basketball earlier this year and now that I am fully recovered, I thought I would share a few things I learned to help others in a similar situation.
All of these tips are in addition to the obvious healthy lifestyle that you should be living already.
Don’t drink in excess.
I hope they help you out.
- Buy a knee scooter. If you are supposed to be non-weight bearing for any significant period of time a knee scooter is a must. It costs about the same to buy one as to rent one for a month so just buy the most popular one now on Amazon and you’ll have it in two days.
Getting around with a knee scooter makes you actually capable of living life. You can carry things (in your hand or in a basket) and you can travel reasonable distances at reasonable speeds. People will say you can live with crutches, but you will both be miserable and likely slowdown your recovery. With crutches, people inevitably put some weight on their bad foot and slow down their healing.
I started out with this popular knee scooter and then upgraded to this beefier one. I absolutely loved my SUV scooter. With the large tires, you can cruise down a sidewalk without concern for cracks or bumps. I actually took it in the bike lane sometimes.
2. Avoid Ibuprofen. While many non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs work to decrease inflammation, they also delay healing. Go with Aleve if you must take a pain killer, but the pain of a broken bone goes away after a few days. I prefer to be 100% aware of what my body is complaining about so I opted not to take anything.
3. Get a shower chair. Showering was definitely the most dangerous thing I did all day until I got one of these. Save yourself and order one today. It makes all the difference. Seriously. It isn’t worth the risk of falling.
4. Have a backup pair of crutches. I had two knee scooters fall apart completely. Literally, the front wheel assembly just fell off. Luckily it happened at home both times so I wasn’t in trouble. This meant two days without a knee scooter while I waited for Amazon to deliver a replacement. Many people have crutches lying around that you can borrow. I got mine from a lending closet for free.
5. Pick up everything from the ground. Rugs and anything else on the ground are an accident waiting to happen. The only two times I accidentally put my bad foot down were when I got caught on a blanket and when my handlebars were grabbed by a jacket that was hanging in a narrow hallway. Remove anything hanging in narrow hallways too.
6. On demand is your best friend. Luckily I live in the on-demand food battleground of Chicago where you can get a free meal from about 10 different services (UberEats, Sprig, DoorDash, PostMates, etc.) The coupon codes are always changing. You can generally find one for free shipping + $5-$15 dollars off your first order. PeaPod and Google Express have similar free 2–3 months of deliveries.
7. Buy a used bone stimulator. It is unlikely your insurance will cover this in the first 90 days of your healing, but it has been shown to speed up healing and it can’t hurt. Insurances only care if you heal eventually, not about you healing as quickly as possible. Going through my insurance an Exogen Bone Stimulator costs $5,000, but I was able to pickup one on Craigslist for $100 from a woman who broke her foot earlier this year. You can often find these on Craigslist or eBay for under $300. Make sure you get one that is relatively new (the month and year are the first 4 digits of the serial number) and hasn’t been used much. Mine only had 51 uses on it. Try it before you buy it if you can. The first one I bought on eBay was dead on arrival and I was able to return it.
8. Go down stairs on your butt. Hopping is way faster and always tempting but scooting is 1,000 times safer. It’s not worth the added risk.
9. Pull ups are your salvation. Getting the blood flowing is beneficial for healing and your sanity. I did a ton of pull ups and hanging leg raises using an over the door frame pull up bar. Hanging leg raises are a somewhat advanced ab exercise that you can build up to by starting with knee raises.
10. Take a Calcium/Vitamin D and a Fish Oil supplement. I am largely dairy free so I started taking them to ensure I am getting enough Calcium. Your body needs Vitamin D to metabolize Calcium and since you likely aren’t laying out at the beach with your broken foot, taking a Vitamin D supplement is a good idea for everyone. Omega 3s help the healing process and basically no one eats enough fish.
11. Don’t test your broken bone. It is tempting to test to see how your healing is going by taking a step on your bad foot. DON’T DO IT. Taking a step seems harmless, but testing your foot too early can set your healing back significantly. The amount of time you spend non-weight bearing is the best predictor of how quickly you heal.
I hope you found these tips helpful and best of luck in your healing process!