There are a few different factors that can impact the success of your physical therapy program, but one of the more controllable aspects that can affect your PT program is your diet. That’s not to say that you can eat a bunch of superfoods and experience amazing healing during your physical therapy sessions, but what you put in your body can certainly impact the success of your PT program one way or the other. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at how your diet can impact your physical therapy program for the good and for the bad.
Your Diet And Your PT Program
As we alluded to above, there is no miracle food that you can eat to magically help your tendon heal or your swelling to resolve. It is very important that you monitor what you put in your body at all times, but especially when you’re working to overcome an injury. Healthy foods are packed with vitamins, minerals and nutrients that help to aid in the recovery process. If your body has access to these nutrients, it only makes healing easier. For example, if you’re working to overcome a bone fracture, making sure that you consume a healthy amount of protein and calcium can ensure that your body has access to nutrients that aid in bone production.
Eating a range of healthy options will help your body get these nutrients that aid in different bodily processes, so make sure that you’re getting foods from all of the different food groups and that you’re eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and proteins like beans, nuts or fatty fish. And while these foods can help you body get what it needs, the importance of a healthy diet becomes more apparent when we look at how an unhealthy diet can work to inhibit your recovery during physical therapy.
Certain unhealthy foods tend to be pro-inflammatory, meaning that they can promote inflammation in your joints. Inflammation is oftentimes something that physical therapists are working to resolve during your PT sessions, so if your diet is making it more likely that inflammation will develop, it can be harder to achieve progress during physical therapy. Junk foods, sugar-packed foods, refined carbs and processed foods all tend to be pro-inflammatory, so really be mindful of your food sources and work to avoid some of these potentially detrimental options.
Also, patients with certain underlying conditions or those taking medications to aid in their recovery may not experience the same nutrient absorption in their gastrointestinal system as other individuals. If your body is already lacking access to healthy nutrients because you’re consuming a poor diet, and your body is having a hard time absorbing these nutrients for one reason or another, it can only make it harder for your body to get the nutrients it needs to help with the recovery process.
Your diet also plays a key role in your recovery as it pertains to your weight. The heavier you are, the more stress your body is going to be under as it works to handle the stress of your body weight. If your body is working to shoulder more stress at a time when it is already weakened as a result of injury or surgery, it can prolong your recovery. Also, because you will likely be less active during your recovery period, it can be easier for you to gain weight because you’re not moving as much. If you’re normally really active and burning a lot of calories, and you continue to eat the same amount of calories while greatly reducing your activity level, you can end up gaining weight at a time when your body is already weakened. Strive to maintain a healthy weight or use your diet to help you shed a few pounds, and you may notice that your physical therapy program becomes a little easier.
Let your diet aid in your recovery instead of causing additional issues for your body. Our team understands the role that a healthy diet plays in your recovery program, and we’d be more than happy to help set you up with a nutritional plan that you can follow during the course of your recovery. For more information, or for answers to questions you have about nutrition or another physical issue, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today at (612) 339-2041.