A broken leg will certainly stop you in your tracks. Common among sportspeople, it is a painful injury with a long recovery time, but there are things that you can do to encourage healing and get back to the old you. 

Depending on the severity of your broken leg, treatment can involve surgery, reduction (where a doctor puts misaligned bones back into place) and/or immobilisation – commonly with a plaster cast. A minor fracture will take around 6-8 weeks to heal, and during this time crutches or a wheelchair will probably be necessary until you can put weight on your leg again. More severe fractures can take between 3 and 6 months to heal.

How To Recover From A Broken Leg…

Here are our expanded tips for speeding up your recovery and avoiding related health issues in the future:

Stick To Your Treatment Plan

It is crucial to adhere to the treatment plan provided by your doctor. This plan will outline specific instructions such as the duration before you can start walking on your broken leg, when to use crutches, or any other necessary precautions. By following these guidelines, you can help ensure optimal healing and prevent potential setbacks. Additionally, attending follow-up appointments and carefully listening to your doctor’s advice is essential for monitoring your progress and making any necessary adjustments to your treatment.

Eat A Balanced Diet

When recovering from an injury, your body requires an increased amount of nutrients to support the healing process. It is important to prioritise a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. These nutrient-dense foods provide the essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your body needs for tissue repair and strengthening. Conversely, try to minimise the consumption of processed foods as they can be low in nutritional value and may hinder your recovery.

Stop Smoking

If you are a smoker, quitting or avoiding smoking during your recovery period is highly recommended. Smoking has been proven to negatively impact the healing process, particularly in the case of bone injuries. It can interfere with blood flow to the bones, leading to delayed healing and an increased risk of nonunion, where the bone fails to heal properly. By quitting smoking, you improve blood circulation and enhance your body’s ability to heal efficiently.


Consider musculoskeletal therapy, a type of physical therapy, focuses on manipulating the joints, muscles, and tendons to improve their function and reduce pain. This therapy can be beneficial for various musculoskeletal injuries and conditions. By seeking the expertise of a musculoskeletal therapist, you can receive targeted treatment to help restore mobility, reduce pain, and accelerate your recovery. The therapist may use techniques such as manual manipulation, stretching exercises, or other specialised modalities to address your specific needs.

Listen To Your Doctor When it Comes To Rest

Rest is paramount when it comes to injury recovery. It is crucial to follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding the duration and extent of rest needed for your injury. Attempting to use the injured limb too soon or engaging in activities beyond your doctor’s instructions can severely impact your recovery time and potentially lead to further complications. By allowing your body ample time to heal, you provide the necessary conditions for optimal recovery and reduce the risk of reinjury or long-term issues.

Remember, each person’s recovery journey may differ based on the nature and severity of their injury. Therefore, it is essential to consult with your healthcare provider to receive personalised advice and guidance tailored to your specific circumstances.

How Musculoskeletal Therapy Can Help Heal A Broken Leg

Musculoskeletal therapy, which encompasses various techniques and modalities, can play a significant role in the healing process of broken bones. Here are some specific benefits of MSK for bone recovery:

Musculoskeletal therapy techniques, such as manual manipulation, mobilisation, and soft tissue work, can enhance blood circulation around the injured area. Increased blood flow brings essential nutrients, oxygen, and immune cells to the site of the fracture, promoting the healing process. By improving circulation, MSK can aid in reducing inflammation and swelling, facilitating the delivery of healing factors to the broken bone.

Proper alignment of the broken bone is crucial for optimal healing. Musculoskeletal therapists have expertise in assessing and correcting musculoskeletal imbalances. Through targeted techniques, they can help align the bones and surrounding structures, ensuring proper positioning for optimal healing. Correct alignment not only promotes bone union but also reduces the risk of malalignment-related issues, such as joint dysfunction or uneven weight distribution.

After a bone fracture, the surrounding muscles, tendons, and ligaments may become stiff and lose their flexibility. Musculoskeletal therapy can incorporate specific exercises, stretching, and mobilisation techniques to restore the range of motion and flexibility of the affected area. By gradually increasing mobility, MSK helps prevent joint stiffness, muscle atrophy, and post-fracture complications like frozen shoulder or contractures.

Fractures can cause significant pain and discomfort during the healing process. Musculoskeletal therapy includes various pain management techniques, such as massage, trigger point therapy, and manual therapy, which can alleviate pain associated with broken bones. Therapists may also use modalities like ultrasound, heat, or cold therapy to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation in the affected area. By addressing pain, MSK not only improves comfort but also allows patients to engage in rehabilitative exercises more effectively.

Beyond the initial healing of the bone, musculoskeletal therapy focuses on rehabilitation and functional recovery. Therapists can design customised exercise programs to strengthen the surrounding muscles, improve joint stability, and restore functional movement patterns. This comprehensive approach helps regain full mobility, rebuild strength, and facilitate a smooth transition back to normal activities, reducing the risk of future complications or reinjury.

It is important to note that the specific techniques used in musculoskeletal therapy may vary depending on the individual’s condition and the stage of bone healing. Consulting with a qualified musculoskeletal therapist or physical therapist can provide personalised guidance and treatment plans tailored to your unique needs, ensuring safe and effective recovery from a broken bone.

When To Use Musculoskeletal Therapy

When your cast has been removed, you can visit a musculoskeletal therapist who will assess your injury and put together a treatment plan which will return you to fitness and provide functional rehabilitation. You don’t need to be referred by your doctor.

Musculoskeletal therapists are experts in movement and function. It is common to experience stiffness, weakness and pain in a healing broken leg, and the therapist will be able to use their in-depth knowledge of the musculoskeletal system to aid your recovery. They will be able to provide an exercise programme and injury prevention advice which will build your strength and improve your mobility.


What should I do immediately if I suspect a broken leg?

If you suspect a broken leg, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately. Avoid putting weight on the injured leg and immobilise the area if possible. Use a splint or cushion to keep the leg stable until you can get professional help.

Can you walk on a broken leg?

Walking on a broken leg is not advised as it can cause further damage to the bone and surrounding tissues. Depending on the severity of the fracture, your healthcare provider will recommend the use of crutches, a wheelchair, or complete immobilisation until the leg has sufficiently healed.

How long does it take for a fractured leg to heal?

The healing time for a fractured leg can vary depending on the severity of the fracture and the individual’s overall health. Minor fractures may heal within 6-8 weeks, while more severe fractures could take 3-6 months or longer. Following your treatment plan and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help speed up the recovery process.

What are the best ways to encourage healing of a broken leg?

To encourage healing, it’s important to follow your doctor’s treatment plan, maintain a balanced diet rich in nutrients necessary for bone healing, quit smoking if you’re a smoker, and consider musculoskeletal therapy to improve function and reduce pain during recovery.

When can I start musculoskeletal therapy after breaking my leg?

You can usually start musculoskeletal therapy once your cast has been removed and your doctor approves. Musculoskeletal therapists can assess your condition and create a treatment plan that focuses on regaining strength, mobility, and function.

Can musculoskeletal therapy help heal a broken leg?

Yes, musculoskeletal therapy can be highly beneficial in the healing process of a broken leg. It helps by improving blood circulation, ensuring proper alignment, restoring range of motion, reducing pain, and strengthening the muscles around the injured area to support recovery and prevent future injuries.

How can I prevent complications after a leg fracture?

Preventing complications involves closely following your doctor’s advice, using assistive devices as recommended, engaging in approved physical therapy, and avoiding smoking. Regular follow-up appointments are also crucial to monitor the healing process and adjust the treatment plan as needed.

What dietary changes should I make to support the healing of my broken leg?

Supporting the healing process of a broken leg involves prioritising a diet rich in calcium, vitamin D, protein, and other essential nutrients that contribute to bone health and regeneration. Increase your intake of dairy products, leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean meats, and fish. Additionally, staying hydrated and limiting intake of inflammatory foods, such as processed foods and sugars, can also aid in a more efficient recovery.

What are the signs that my broken leg is not healing properly?

Signs that a broken leg is not healing as expected include persistent pain, swelling that doesn’t decrease over time, noticeable deformities, or an inability to gradually increase weight-bearing activities as per the recovery timeline suggested by your healthcare provider. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to contact your doctor immediately to reassess your treatment plan and possibly adjust your recovery strategies.

At Northwich Foot Clinic, our musculoskeletal therapist is highly trained and experienced in injury prevention and recovery, with a strong focus on biomechanics and exercise rehabilitation. Book your appointment online today and visit our clinic in Northwich, Cheshire.

Categories: Sports Injuries