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The Critical Role of Nutrition in Orthopedic Surgery
The Critical Role of Nutrition in Orthopedic Surgery

Proper nutrition is always a good practice to improve your health, but it is especially important when preparing and recovering from surgery. Specifically, orthopedic surgery requires good nutrition as your body’s muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and bones all require certain nutrients to heal. These minerals, vitamins, proteins, good carbs, and healthy fats can be obtained from a healthy and balanced diet. For better health, patients should educate themselves on the food they should and shouldn’t eat when preparing for and recovering from orthopedic surgery.

Food is medicine, as the nutrients you receive based on your diet can fuel your body and encourage anti-inflammatory responses. Anti-inflammatory foods are especially important for orthopedic surgery, as it can help reduce swelling at the surgical site and promote healing. Certain nutrients encourage this anti-inflammatory response and boost the immune system, such as omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and amino acids.

Here are some nutrient-rich foods to eat before and after orthopedic surgery:

  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Ginger
  • Leafy vegetables
  • Fatty fish
  • Berries
  • Probiotic Yogurt
  • Nuts
  • Beans and Lentils
  • Olive Oil
  • Eggs
  • Flax and chia seeds

Certain foods may encourage a successful surgical outcome, while others may inhibit it. During recovery, your body is working hard to heal the surgical site, meaning your body’s metabolism is working overtime to get the nutrients you need. A poor diet can slow the healing process and potentially lead to postoperative complications. Some things to avoid during your recovery include caffeine, alcohol, excessive sugar, and excessive salt, which can deplete your body of nutrients and impede your body’s healing process.

Educating yourself on what foods to avoid is essential to prepare your body for the recovery road ahead. Orthopedic surgery can be a challenging journey, but you can limit complications and encourage a better outcome by maintaining good nutrition with a balanced diet.

Author: Dr. Ronak Patel is a fellowship trained orthopaedic surgeon specializing in all sports medicine injuries for adolescents and adults, including knee, shoulder and elbow. Dr. Patel provides comprehensive care for the musculoskeletal system treating acute injuries in Munster, Indiana.

Munster, IN

10110 Donald S Powers Drive,
Suite 101B
Munster, Indiana 46321

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Monday - Friday: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM

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