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  #1  
Old 10-29-2011, 06:03 PM
anon11 anon11 is offline
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Does alcohol affect the healing of a broken bone?

This link mentions it in the fourth and fith paragraphs.
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  #2  
Old 10-29-2011, 06:05 PM
anon11 anon11 is offline
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Also, what about ciggarettes?
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  #3  
Old 10-29-2011, 06:08 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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I received a login page when I clicked on your link. So can you summarize what the article has to say for the rest of us?
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Old 10-29-2011, 08:14 PM
Candyman74 Candyman74 is offline
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No.
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  #5  
Old 10-29-2011, 08:55 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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Alcohol ingested or poured over wound?

Similarly, cigs?
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  #6  
Old 10-29-2011, 10:00 PM
isaiahrobinson isaiahrobinson is offline
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The common folk wisdom is that drinking alcohol slightly slows the recovery time for injuries. The nutritionist at this link says that drinking excessive amounts of alcohol slows the recovery time for injuries by either "triggering inflammation" or "impeding healing", but he actually says that in small quantities (less than two drinks a day) red wine or beer can actually help speed up the healing process. I'm not sure how true that is, but that's what he thinks.

If the reason you're asking is that you've broken a bone and you're wondering whether to give up alcohol while you're recovering, I wouldn't worry about it too much. It won't make much of a difference in the grand scheme of things. But try and limit your alcohol intake a bit - definitely try and avoid binge drinking.

I had never heard about whether smoking affects injury recovery time, but this website cites a number of studies which apparently found that smoking significantly lengthens the healing time for broken bones. The second study cited found that heavy smokers' bones took about 2 months longer to heal than non-smokers on average (!). So by the sounds of it I'd definitely try and quit smoking if you've broken a bone.
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  #7  
Old 10-30-2011, 04:10 AM
anon11 anon11 is offline
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Here's the section in the locked article.

"Also important is advice on abstaining from alcohol when broken bones are healing, because drinking has a detrimental effect on the healing process. "To heal properly, bone cells must first form a 'matrix,' which later hardens or ossifies," explains fellow researcher at the Omaha VA Medical Center, Dr Terrence Donohue (also professor of internal medicine at University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha). "Alcohol consumption changes the composition of this matrix by suppressing the formation of osteoblasts and/or decreasing their ability to respond to signals that normally trigger bone formation after a fracture."

Patients with a history of alcohol abuse have a significantly higher frequency of fracture-healing complications than nonalcoholic patients, the review points out. The prolonged disability associated with delayed unions and nonunions leads to "fracture disease," with joint stiffness, muscle weakness, and poor soft-tissue flexibility. Recent animal studies have suggested that alcohol may inhibit new bone formation at the fracture site, resulting in deficient bone repair, which is characterized by repair tissue of lower stiffness, strength, and mineral content. Chakkalakal notes that his group has published several animal studies showing that a switch to an alcohol-free diet after a bone fracture prevents the deficiency in fracture healing. "The review underscores the importance of abstinence from alcohol by patients with fractures," Donohue adds."

Thanks Isaiah. Yes I have a broken bone. Is binge drinking bad then?

Last edited by anon11; 10-30-2011 at 04:10 AM..
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  #8  
Old 10-30-2011, 07:59 AM
isaiahrobinson isaiahrobinson is offline
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I think it's pretty common sense that binge drinking is probably bad for the recovery isn't it?! I wouldn't say you have to give up alcohol completely while you're recovering though - I can't imagine a couple of drinks once or twice a week is going to affect the recovery much. The nutritionist I quoted above seems to think a drink or two on its own is not harmful to injury recovery, and that quote you just posted from the professor of medicine seems to be focusing on alcohol abuse and heavy drinking rather than a casual drink or two every now and again.

The studies seem to show that smoking, however, does a serious detrimental effect on bone recovery so now would probably be as good a time as any to try and quit if you're a smoker.

I'd recommend asking an osteopath for his advice for his advice though, because we're just grabbing quotes off the internet here.
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  #9  
Old 10-30-2011, 08:26 AM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isaiahrobinson View Post
I'd recommend asking an osteopath for his advice for his advice though, because we're just grabbing quotes off the internet here.
Osteopaths have no special knowledge about bones beyond that of MDs. Osteopathy started as an alternative medical practice in the 19th century, based on the idea that "the bone, osteon, was the starting point from which to ascertain the cause of pathological conditions."

Osteopathic schools have since gone pretty mainstream, and their curricula are comparable with schools which produce MDs.

It's fairly well accepted in the medical literature that excessive chronic alcohol use is very bad for bone healing, and that an occasional drink (1 or 2 per week) is unlikely to significantly slow bone healing in an otherwise healthy person. But the grey zone is in between: Can one get away with 1 drink a day? How about 2? Evidence is not yet conclusive on that question. Ask your orthopedist (who could be either an MD or a DO.)

As for smoking, it's widely demonstrated to be "a bad thing" for healing of any sort.

Last edited by Qadgop the Mercotan; 10-30-2011 at 08:29 AM..
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  #10  
Old 10-30-2011, 08:43 AM
isaiahrobinson isaiahrobinson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
Osteopaths have no special knowledge about bones beyond that of MDs. Osteopathy started as an alternative medical practice in the 19th century, based on the idea that "the bone, osteon, was the starting point from which to ascertain the cause of pathological conditions."
My bad, I meant "orthopedist".
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  #11  
Old 10-30-2011, 09:35 AM
anon11 anon11 is offline
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What effect does calcium have on healing bones? It is unclear to me whether it helps them heal faster, stronger or neither.
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  #12  
Old 10-30-2011, 09:58 AM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anon11 View Post
What effect does calcium have on healing bones? It is unclear to me whether it helps them heal faster, stronger or neither.
Bones are made of calcium, so they need calcium to heal. If you're low on calcium, they won't heal as well.

So it's wise to supplement with calcium, plus some vitamin D (which helps your body absorb and use calcium) when you're trying to heal a fracture, just to be on the safe side.

Last edited by Qadgop the Mercotan; 10-30-2011 at 09:59 AM..
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  #13  
Old 10-30-2011, 03:46 PM
barbitu8 barbitu8 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
Bones are made of calcium, so they need calcium to heal. If you're low on calcium, they won't heal as well.

So it's wise to supplement with calcium, plus some vitamin D (which helps your body absorb and use calcium) when you're trying to heal a fracture, just to be on the safe side.
Somebody told me that magnesium also helps with bone strength. (She was talking about osteopenia/osteoporosis.) Is that correct?
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  #14  
Old 10-30-2011, 09:13 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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Originally Posted by barbitu8 View Post
Somebody told me that magnesium also helps with bone strength. (She was talking about osteopenia/osteoporosis.) Is that correct?
Not to my knowledge, nor do my sources recommend use of magnesium for such purposes.
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  #15  
Old 10-30-2011, 09:20 PM
samclem samclem is offline
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Qadgop. Thanks for coming in with some expert advice. We need more of that.
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  #16  
Old 11-02-2011, 01:43 PM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is offline
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I wouldn't be surprised if cigarettes impeded, though this is just my WAG: if they cause vasoconstriction, that would impair the healing process.

Not what the OP asked, but also avoid NSAIDs (ibuprofen, Aleve, Celebrex etc.). The orthopedist I saw when I broke my foot a few weeks ago told me to avoid them as they interfere with healing. I'd never heard that before but when I consulted Doctor Google for a second opinion, DG concurred. The correlation doesn't appear to be AS strong in humans, but when tested in rats, the effect was pretty dramatic (as in, some rats never healed their broken bones).

I don't know that they were sure of the reason, beyond that some inflammation is required for healing, and suppressing that would obviously reduce the healing process.
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