Managing fracture injury.


After a badly rolled ankle and applying first aid, the next step is to visit the doctor for assessment and referral. This summer I mildly fractured my ankle doing extreme gardening. A simple slip sent me over and I badly sprained my ankle, later to be diagnosed as a fracture. Of course your first aid R.I.C.E.R. treatment is essential right away: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation & Referral. But there’s more you can do to speed recovery, once you're past the acute phase. Here’s how I managed my fracture injury using complementary medicine.

 

  1. Get a second opinion:  After going to the doctor and getting Xrays, the doctor gave me the all clear. Unfortunately, with a second opinion from the Radiologist & Physiotherapist, an undisplaced fracture was detected. The doctor also said I didn’t need physiotherapy. Luckily my experience & history of ankle sprains, made me the wiser and I enrolled the help of a Physio. My tip: Speak to other bodywork Professionals, that specialise in injury rehab such as Osteopaths, Physiotherapists & Acupuncturiststhey can be invaluable on your support team for a full recovery from fracture injury. 

     

  1. Cold or Heat?: Generally the Acute phase calls for Cold packs. Cold constricts the blood vessels and controls swelling. Heat dilates blood vessels and lets the circulation flood in. So think about what you’re trying to achieve – minimise swelling in the acute phase and later on you want to start moving the stagnant blood from bruising. Heat such as warm packs or moxa can start to be introduced then. But ultimately, listen to your body, is it relieved with cold packs? Then keep using that, until it changes and then try heat. Touch the injury site – does it feel hot? Use cold. Does it feel cold? Use heat. Each fracture injury is so different and its needs change during stages of rehabilitation. 

     

  1. Arnica: I used Arnica ointment three time daily on my foot to disperse the bruising faster. I was taking Arnica pillules every day in the first 1-2 weeks. 

     

  1. Comfrey: Aka “Bone Knit”, Comfrey or Symphytum helps fractures and breaks heal by encouraging the stickiness that occurs during fracture healing and regranulation of the bone. I was also taking a Symphytum homeopathic remedy daily. 

     

  1. Silica Tissue Salt: Silica is the “coathanger” for Calcium. Good for  strengthening connective tissue such as ligaments and tendons as well as supporting the healing of bone. Tissue salts help your increase the absorption of the mineral desired. So a Silica Tissue Salt helps the uptake of Silica absorption from the food you eat, as well as microsupplementation of Silica. 

     

  1. Calc Phos: Calcium Phos was another remedy I was taking to complete the bone healing combination with Silica & Symphytum. 

     

  1. Acupuncture: Local points around the heel and ankle bone were needled superficially. Deep needling is not appropriate with swelling. The needles help lymphatic drainage, move the stagnant blood and directing fresh blood towards the injury site to encourage tissue repair. It also stimulates nerves that may have been desensitized or damaged due to swelling. “Ba Xie” is a combination of points across the forefoot between the toes that helped this process – waking up the intrinsic foot muscles and lymphatic drainage. 

     

  1. Moxa: Applying heat in the 3rd & 4th week, helped to move the stagnant blood and get the joint moving, whilst reducing the pain. Think about it – the joint is blocked and “stuck”, heat helps “thaw it out”. 

     

  1. Massage: was being performed with my arnica & comfrey creams several times daily to help with lymphatic drainage and moving the swelling. Lymphatic drainage is advised in the acute stage because it is lighter. Deeper massage can be performed by a physioosteo or massage therapist after the acute phase has passed. 

     

Of course all of this was under the guidance of a physiotherapist and you must discuss your strategies for fracture injury with your bodywork provider. I was also using the help of Western Medicine, drugs for pain relief, but only when it was severe pain in the first 2 weeks. An ankle brace to immobilise the foot was used as well as lots of compression bandaging. 

 

I’d strongly recommend trying these natural tools, if recovering with minimal drugs is important to you. It really helped me speed recovery of an expected 6 weeks in the brace and at 4 weeks am out of the foot brace and walking confidently.  

 

Other posts about leg and foot related sports injuries:

Shin splints and pain relief

Plantar Fasciitis and Acupuncture

Fracture injury

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