My Tips for Healing After an Injury

Hi Friends,

It’s been a few weeks since my last blog, I know.  To let you all know what I’ve been up to, it was a busy last week in December and first part of January.  Celebrating my husband’s birthday, Christmas, New Year’s and now battling skier’s thumb (which has made typing, well, interesting) resulting from a collision with a snowboarder that was snowboarding out of control.  I am still braced up and trying to type here, but I either wear the cumbersome brace or my thumb throbs…need to follow doctor’s orders!

If you are not familiar with skier’s thumb (also known as gamekeeper’s thumb), it happens when you fall, and typically holding a pole which causes the thumb to bend backwards.  With that, there is a risk for ligament damage and possible surgery needed.  I do not know the extent of my damage just yet, but I am getting evaluated.  At any rate, I thought this would be a great opportunity to do a blog on acute inflammation from injuries.

Acute inflammation is a part of healing and is not a bad thing…it’s necessary!  You may have heard of inflammation being like a check engine light to a car.  And that’s a great way to think about it.  We ignore the check engine light and that can lead to further car troubles…similarly we cannot ignore the signs of inflammation or that acute inflammation can turn to chronic.  If we caught a virus or something, think a cold or flu, we can support the immune response to help our bodies fight that off.  If we have an injury though, we may need deeper medical interventions, much like taking your car into a mechanic for a check engine light.  It may just be a top off of fluids, but it could easily be something more serious that needs more intricate care.  If we ignore that “check engine light”, further and longer lasting issues can arise.

A lot people have certain “go-to’s” foods and supplements for getting over a cold or flu like vitamin C, zinc, chicken noodle soup, echinacea, certain teas, etc., but most people don’t think of go to’s for healing when getting injured with a broken bone or torn/stressed ligament.  If you are in the sports world, you are most likely aware of R.I.C.E., or rest, ice, compression and elevate…and that concept is important when sustaining an injury, no doubt.  Deeper than that though, how can we support our bodies healing process from a Nutritional Therapy perspective?  If we give our bodies what it needs, and avoid the foods that don’t serve us well, our bodies can do amazing things in terms of healing.  One example of this is the piece of my story about an autoimmune process I had going on that was resolved simply by eliminating a food that didn’t serve me well and was actually very inflammatory to my body.  Now, it just isn’t as simple as it was with my story when it comes to a wound, broken/bruised bone or torn/strained ligament.  But it is important to give your body extra nutrients in order to ensure your body has the “tools” it needs to heal.  Here are some of my tips to help bodies heal after an injury…

  1. Protein: You may need to increase the amount of protein you eat while healing as it is critical for wound healing.  I love a nut butter with a veggie like celery as a snack to sneak in more protein (and a little fat too) in order to boost up some protein intake or pair something like prosciutto or nut butter with an apple.  Not only you get protein, but you’ll also get satiating fat along with the vitamins and minerals in the fruit or veggie without major blood sugar swings.  I’d add collagen here as well since it is protein, sourced through supplements or bone broths.
  2. Iron: Iron boost blood and oxygen transportation to the wound/injury site.  Iron is found in dark leafy greens, eggs, fish, red meat (caveat…make it grass fed/grass finished when it comes to red meat!), and nuts to name a few, even some whole grain bread (a sprouted wheat bread or something, usually found in the frozen foods area of a grocery store would be my suggestion there…refined flours need not apply).
  3. Zinc: Supports immune function and aids in collagen production which is important for wound healing.  Sources are similar to Iron; leafy greens, fish and shellfish, eggs, diary, poultry and red meat (grass fed/grass finished is best)
  4. Vitamin A: This helps stimulate collagen production so very good for skin and tendon healing.  Collagen is good for the gut too so bonus!  Some good sources are liver, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, cod liver oil, carrots, cantaloupe, peas, kale and mustard greens
  5. Vitamin C: Definitely an immune booster. Think foods like oranges, strawberries, spinach, tomatoes, melons, kale, brussels sprouts, apples, broccoli, bell peppers, kiwi, lemons, and blueberries.  Bonus, these are also good sources of fiber which is important to overall health.
  6. Calcium: Especially if you are healing from a bone injury, calcium plays an important role in bone health, just pair it with vitamin D3 to help absorb it if taking as a supplement.  Good sources of calcium are broccoli, kale, bok choy, oranges, dried figs, canned salmon and sardines, and various dairy or fortified non-dairy alternatives.

My caveat to the red meat, if you chose to eat meat, about it being grass fed/grass finished is two-fold: One, it’s got a better omega 3 to omega 6 ratio (think pro-inflammatory with the omega 6’s and anti-inflammatory with the omega 3’s); two, it’s overall better for the environment as it’s more sustainable/regenerative and more humane way of life for the animal.

Finally, it is important to get enough food when recovering.  I also highly recommend balancing carbs, fats and protein in your snacks as you’re eating these foods.  Satiety and blood sugar balance are my reasoning there.  And of course, follow doctor’s orders in terms of any exercise recommendations or restrictions, any physical therapy recommendations, etc.!

Happy healing!

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and the information in this post is not meant to be taken as medical advice.  Please speak to your medical professional if you have medical concerns.


20 Foods High in Vitamin A. (2017). Retrieved from 20 Foods High in Vitamin A (

21 Foods High in Vitamin C. (2017). Retrieved from 21 Foods High in Vitamin C (

How Much Calcium Do You Really Need? (2022). Retrieved from How much calcium do you really need? – Harvard Health

Understanding Acute and Chronic Inflammation. (2020). Retrieved from Understanding acute and chronic inflammation – Harvard Health

What to Eat When You’re Trying to Heal. (2023). Retrieved from Foods That Speed Up Healing (