Broken Femur – My Road to Recovery. Week Four!

It’s four weeks today since my surgery on a broken femur in my left leg (oblique fracture treated with intramedullary nailing — a titanium rod running the length of my femur with two iron nails at either end, for anybody who’s interested).

None of the consultants or doctors would give me a best or worst case scenario in hospital, which I found frustrating. But everybody’s healing is different, so I set about researching and getting to work on giving my body the best chance of healing quickly.

I stayed in hospital for 10 days after my break, due to blood loss during surgery that left me anaemic. Progress was frustratingly slow and I could feel my swelling and range of movement actually getting worse during this period, rather than better. It was only a week after surgery that I was finally well enough to get up and about on crutches and really crack on with the physio exercises.

I thought I would summarise all of the things I have been doing in case it might help anybody else in a similar boat, and I will share my progress over the coming months.

Broken Femur
4 days post-surgery vs. 8 days post-surgery… I really needed that transfusion!

Nutrition / Supplements

Daily Supplements

  • Calcium Citrate with Vitamin D3 – calcium for bone healing and strength, and vitamin D for calcium absorption.
  • Turmeric – with black pepper to enhance absorption.
  • Iron (GP prescribed due to my low blood count post-surgery).
  • Vitamin C to help with iron absorption.

Foods

  • Healthy diet!
  • No drinking – I have given up drinking completely until fully healed (at least to London Marathon), as I want to give my body the best chance of being back fighting fit.
  • Bone broth – rich in minerals and healing compounds, like collagen. Also a yummy alternative to tea and coffee.
  • Green juices high in beet veg (recipe: kale, sweet potato, beetroot, cucumber, celery, apple, carrot, lemon). This helps promote an alkaline diet for good bone health and to help with inflammation.
    • A note on alkaline diet: lemon and limes, which we would usually associate as acidic, becoming alkalised once metaboilsed.
  • Tangerines, nuts…

Exercises

I have been varying my exercises each week after meeting with my sports therapist. A big milestone came in week three when I was finally able to do straight leg raises. Small victories!

By the end of week four, I am now doing 1hr 15min of exercises each day + 1 hour on the pedal exerciser shown below + at least 3km of crutches walking. I started with no resistance on the pedal exerciser and have been slowly increasing each day. Walks started by going to the end of the road and back, but I can comfortably manage the distance now.

Pedal Exerciser Broken Femur

From tomorrow, I will be back in the gym on the stationary bike and swimming (had to wait until a slight wound infection from surgery healed before being cleared to swim).

I will aim to publish a video blog with some of the exercises I have been doing in the coming couple of weeks. I have also been doing core work and press-ups to keep a strong core and overall strength, and will introduce more all-over body exercises when back in the gym this week.

As well as the pedal exerciser, I purchased a sandbag for additional weight on glute bridges. I’ve also got some super un-sexy grippy swimming shoes so I don’t slip when I go to the pool this week.

Acupuncture

I’m very lucky in that my Mum is an acupuncturist, so I have been receiving a treatment every couple of days, particularly targeting bone health, inflammation, blood, and overall well-being. I often feel a lot more calm and energetic (yes, they go together!) at the end of the sessions.

Zheng Gu Shui

Literally “bonesetting water”, this treatment has been used in China for over 500 years in promoting bone healing. I apply it daily and then wrap my leg tightly in a towel or compression tights. It makes the area go really warm and it feels looser after the treatment.

Zheng Gu Shui

Ice for Swelling, Heat for Bruising

Straight after the surgery, ice packs helped with the swelling around the injury (particularly around my knee). I would apply for 20 minutes and then re-apply an hour later. Since then, a hot water bottle has helped to bring out the bruising.

Sports Massage

Weekly gentle sports massage has helped with bruising and pushes the toxins towards the lymph nodes in my groin. I’m already dreading the deep-tissue massage that will follow in the coming months!

I haven’t set a target to restart the challenge yet, as I need to be able to walk before I can run. Feeling so determined to get back out there when I am able to, but also enjoying the challenge of getting myself back to full-strength.

Will keep you all updated with my progress!