Diet for Healing a Broken Ankle

Lady with Fractured Leg
A woman with a broken ankle sits in a recliner chair. (Image: Richard_Pinder/iStock/Getty Images)

A broken ankle occurs when too much pressure is applied to one of the several small bones that compromise your ankle joint. Once your bone is broken, it is important to provide your body with the proper nutrients it needs to recover. When recovering from a fracture, it is vital to consume adequate amounts of calories, protein, vitamins and minerals.

Anatomy

Your ankle is made up of several small bones that connect your leg to your foot. Pressure is put on these bones every time you walk, run or jump. Therefore, broken ankles are not uncommon injuries. Breaks can vary from small cracks to injuries that shatter the bone. Regardless of the severity, all bone fractures require the same dietary needs in order to create new cells that will allow the bone to fully heal.

Energy

When injured, your body’s energy requirements are elevated. The healing process requires energy and therefore it is vital that your diet provides you with an adequate amount of calories. Even the bones of your ankle, which are small, require extra calories. Be sure to increase your daily calories in order to allow the healing process to be completed.

Protein

According to the Center for Better Bones, approximately half of your bone, by volume, is made of protein. When you fracture a bone, your body collects protein in order to restructure the bone. A lack of protein can prevent your bone from becoming as hard and rigid as it should be and increase the likelihood of future bone fractures. The Center for Better Bones states that studies have shown bone healing after a fracture can accelerate with just a 10 to 20 g increase in your daily protein consumption. Try to incorporate high-protein foods like meat, nuts and beans into your diet. You may also consider protein supplements to increase your protein intake.

Minerals

By weight, minerals make up 70 percent of your bones, according to the Center for Better Bones. Two of the most important minerals are calcium and phosphorous. Together, they form a complex known as hydroxyapatite, which helps to give bones their strength. Early in the healing process, calcium is drawn from the bone. However, later calcium will need to be received from the diet. Other important minerals for bone healing include zinc, copper and silicon.

Vitamins

Vitamins are vital for the healing process, as they act as catalysts for many of the reactions that allow the bone to rebuild. Vitamin D controls calcium absorption. Without vitamin D, you would not get any calcium to the bone. Vitamin C is needed to build the collagen protein matrix that comprises your bone. Other important vitamins include vitamin K and vitamin B-6.

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