Fracture is the Medical Term for a Bone Break
- Accidents Happen and You Fracture a Bone
- Symptoms of a Fracture
- How to Heal a Broken Bone
- Vitamin K2: The Essential Nutrient for Bone Health
- Vitamin K1 & Vitamin K2
- What Nutrients Create Strong Bones?
- How to Eat to Have Strong Bones
A fracture can occur when a force or impact on a bone becomes too strong.
Your bones are incredibly strong, and they can usually withstand a powerful impact or force. But, fractures can occur.
As a child, you could handle more of that force. Falls, trips, and scrapes are common among children and adolescents. But the older you get, the less force your bones can handle. Weaker bones and a greater risk of falling with age can make tough, resilient bones more vulnerable to fractures.
Accidents Happen and You Fracture a Bone
Maybe you fall and injure yourself playing tag football with your kids. Perhaps you trip and fall, or have a car accident. Those things account for the millions of fractures that occur every year.
A fracture, or broken bone, can range from a thin crack to a complete break. Those cracks or breaks aren’t always orderly: Fractures can happen crosswise, lengthwise, in several places, or in many pieces within a bone.
- High force impact or stress, such as a fall or accident
- Medical conditions that weaken bones like osteoporosis
A fracture happens when any force stronger than your bone puts pressure on that bone. That might be a fall, trauma, or a direct blow to a bone. Or it might be repetitive forces such as running.
Symptoms of a Fracture
Symptoms of a fracture depend on the type of fracture, the bone impacted, your age, and overall health. They often involve:
- Discolored skin around the affected area
- Blood — with an open fracture
Women, during menopause, are especially prone to fractures. Lower estrogen levels during this time make calcium regulation harder. Women should be extra wary of the density and strength of their bones around menopause.
How to Heal a Broken Bone
But so should everyone. The same strategies to minimize fractures and support strong bones apply to everyone.
- Don’t smoke.
- Get sufficient — but not too much — sunlight.
- Eat plenty of bone-supporting foods.
- Talk with your healthcare practitioner about doing weight-bearing exercise to strengthen bones.
If you have a fracture or think you do, seek medical attention immediately. Your healthcare practitioner will probably:
- Ask you about your symptoms.
- Visually and physically examine the injured area.
- Order X-rays — the most common method of fracture diagnosis.
- Order attentional tests if necessary.
Depending on the severity of your fracture, your healthcare practitioner might line up the broken bone, a process called reducing the fracture. As the fracture heals, new bone will form around the broken pieces, eventually connecting that new bone.
The fractured bone area will be immobilized — held in place with a splint, cast, or brace to aid healing — for two to eight weeks.
That length will depend on the injured bone and whether any complications occur. For a properly aligned bone kept immobile, the healing process usually occurs in a straightforward manner.
Vitamin K2: The Essential Nutrient for Bone Health
The right nutrients can help whether you want to keep your bones strong and heal help a fracture quickly. While many people think all you need is calcium for healthy bones, vitamin K supports calcium to build strong bones. Vitamin K is a cofactor in the development of bone. This means that you need vitamin K, along with calcium and other nutrients, to begin the bone development process and develop strong bones.
Scientists first discovered this vitamin in 1929. They labeled vitamin K an essential nutrient for blood clotting. During the early 20th century, Weston Price also found this vitamin — which he called “activator X” — could protect against tooth decay and chronic disease.
Vitamin K1 & Vitamin K2
Vitamin K comes in two forms. Plant foods like leafy greens have vitamin K1 or phylloquinone. Animal foods and fermented foods like sauerkraut contain vitamin K2 or menaquinone. Vitamin K2 comes in a few different “flavors.” The most-studied ones are MK-4 and MK-7.
Vitamin K helps regulate the deposit of calcium. This vitamin ensures that calcium goes to your bones — a process called calcification — and not your blood vessels and kidneys.
Vitamin K2 activates two proteins — matrix GLA protein and osteocalcin — that help calcium to build and maintain strong bones. Therefore, vitamin K2 is important in preventing osteoporosis and fractures.
Long-term studies among Japanese women found that vitamin K2 reduced:
- Spinal fractures by 60 percent
- Hip fractures by 77 percent
- All non-spinal fractures by 81 percent
Those and other studies led Japanese experts to recommend vitamin K supplements to prevent or treat osteoporosis.
What Nutrients Create Strong Bones?
Strong bones require an array of nutrients. Calcium contributes to bone health. In a process called remodeling, your body continually removes small amounts of calcium from your bones and replaces it with new calcium.
If your body removes more calcium than it replaces, those bones slowly become weaker and more prone to breaking.
But too much calcium can also weaken your bones, increasing your risk of fractures and osteoporosis. Too much of this mineral can also interfere with how your brain and heart work and create kidney stones. The key is getting the right amount of calcium from food and a quality supplement.
Some calcium formulas contain vitamin D, which helps your body better absorb calcium. But to get all the benefits of bone health, you’ll want to look for a formula that combines vitamins D and K with calcium and other nutrients including:
- Vitamin C, which helps create bone-forming cells. Vitamin C also works as an antioxidant to protect bone cells from damage.
- Manganese, which supports bone development and maintenance. This mineral works with other nutrients to support bone mineral density.
- Magnesium helps convert vitamin D into its active form, which then helps calcium absorb well. One study with over 73,000 women found those who took 400 mg of magnesium daily had higher bone density than those who got half this amount daily.
- Zinc makes up the mineral part of your bones. Zinc also helps form bone-building cells and prevents bones from breaking down too much.
How to Eat to Have Strong Bones
Do you want to have strong bones and reduce the severity of fractures if they do occur? Eat foods rich in vitamin K and other nutrients that support healthy bones. Many leafy greens, including cooked spinach or kale, are high in vitamin K1. So are raw dandelion greens and some dried herbs such as thyme, sage, and basil.
Your body can convert vitamin K1 into K2, but the process isn’t always smooth. Your gut bacteria can also make some vitamin K2, but having gut problems can delay this process.
Some animal foods such as goose or beef liver and chicken contain vitamin K2. So do fermented foods like natto or fermented soybeans. Most of us don’t regularly eat these foods.
Those are among the reasons that the average intake of vitamin K2 is very low in most American diets.
Leafy greens and other veggies are great for bone health, and they provide other nutrients and antioxidants like vitamin C. Vegetables can also improve bone density.
Some leafy greens are also rich in bone-supporting calcium. Other good sources of this mineral, include almonds, seeds, sardines, and canned salmon. Salmon and sardines are also good sources of vitamin D. So are other fish like tuna, egg yolks, and some types of mushrooms.
The omega-3 fatty acids in wild-caught fish can also lower inflammation and protect against age-related bone loss. While most studies look at omega-3 fatty acids in fish, plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids can also help lower bone breakdown and increase bone formation.
Max Living Core or Advanced Nutrition Plans contain these and other nutrient-rich foods to support bone health, help you reach an ideal weight, and feel your best.
To support strong bones and help them heal properly, you want to nourish them and give them everything they require. Talk with your healthcare practitioner about maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and other strategies for bone health.
Chiropractic care can also help. In one animal study, researchers found that chiropractic care can improve osteoporosis by focusing on skeletal muscle.
Even under the best of conditions, we fall, slip, or otherwise injure ourselves. You can’t always prevent fractures, but you can keep your bones strong at any age. If an accident does happen, you can minimize the damage and help the recovery process with these strategies.