Optimal Nutrition for Injury Recovery
There is an old joke about how people who get interested in certain topics are usually trying to fix themselves. In the case of Optimal Nutrition for Injury Recovery that was certainly the case.
In 2017 I sustained a catastrophic injury including a broken fibula and two torn ligaments. I was inline skating, someone bumped me from behind, my skate stuck to the floor and that was that.
I would require surgery with a plate and two pins put in my leg to keep it together while everything healed. This would be followed by months of being on crutches while I recovered.
Since I was determined to make sure everything healed as well as it could, I started to research the topic of optimal nutrition for injury recovery. To my surprise, there was nothing that had been written recently. The most recent book I could find was written nearly two decades ago and was assuredly out of date.
So I’d get into the original research, examining all of the topics relevant to post-injury healing. That led to the publication of this booklet.
The reality of being active is that injuries occur. This can range from the minor such as muscle pulls or ligament sprains to the catastrophic such as bone breaks or ligament tears. At best these injuries cause a short loss of training time. At worst they can end careers.
Following an injury the body goes through a number of specific phases which, ideally, lead to a full recovery. There are a tremendous number of factors which go into the recovery processes some of which we cannot control. However, one we can control is optimal nutrition.
Topics in Optimal Nutrition for Injury Recovery
The book starts by looking at the different major tissues in the body (muscle, bone, tendon and ligament) and the types of injuries that can occur. It then looks at the different stages of injury recovery.
Next I address the concept of PRICES (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, Support) along with the controversies that surround it. The topic of anti-inflammatories is addressed in detail as well. This leads into a discussion of the idea that inflammation should be modulated rather than eliminated.
The issue of calorie intake is critical to the topic of injury recovery. Too few calories can impair the recovery process while too many can cause negative effects on body composition. Calculating energy requirements after an injury is more complex than under normal circumstances and I detail how it can be done.
The next chapters examine the optimal intake of the macronutrients, protein, carbohydrates and fats for recovery. I also examine various supplements that may be generally useful or help to support specific types of injury recovery.
While not a major topic of any of my books for the most part, I do address the potential role of various drugs and compounds for improving injury recovery.
The book finishes with two case studies of different injuries, one of which was my own. I provide selected references for those who wish to delve a bit deeper.
Please note that this book only examines the types of injuries that occur to bone, muscle, ligament and tendons. Post-surgery recovery is at least similar and many of the topics discussed will apply there. However, the book does not cover head injuries or concussions.