Fractures - Editor's Choice

Over the years, Earth Clinic readers have sent us many reports about their treatments for Fractures. The editors at Earth Clinic consider the below posts to be some of the most helpful and informative and have named them 'Editor's Choice'. We hope that you will find this useful.

Cold, Comfrey and Cabbage

Posted by Mama To Many (Tn) on 11/08/2018

I was rushing around a few days ago and caught my pinky toe on the doorframe. After yelling, I collapsed into a chair to regain my breath and evaluate the damage. The toe was cocked out of its normal place and I was sure it was broken. Likely there was soft tissue damage as well. I taped my toe to its neighbor. I kept ice on my toe for the better part of 4 hours. I also kept it elevated. It is typically recommended to keep ice on an injury for 20 minutes out of every 2-4 hours for 48 hours. Because the ice helped the pain so much, I kept it on much more than that. I did keep a towel between the ice pack and my toe so it wouldn't get too cold.

In spite of the ice and elevation, I did develop a good bit of swelling and bruising in my foot. The bruising may have been worse due to taking some aspirin for pain, but I did choose aspirin because Tylenol doesn't help with inflammation and I can't take ibuprofen. I also took some turmeric to reduce inflammation.

At first I only needed a cane to get around, but by later in the day, with increased swelling, I was needing to use crutches. I think the swelling in the foot makes walking as painful as the break itself. And bumping or moving my toe wrong stirred up pain afresh. I continued to use ice intermittently and elevation as much as possible.

By the evening of the second day I had significant bruising. I started to use a tincture I had made on my toe and the surrounding bruising. It was an alcohol tincture of arnica and comfrey. This greatly reduced the bruise overnight. I continue to apply the tincture to my toe and surrounding area several times a day.

Cabbage is used as a wrap for swelling, especially for mastitis. I decided to try it for my toe. Typically, cabbage is used fresh from the refrigerator and bruised with a rolling pin before applying to the area in need. I did this once, but then decided it would conform more to my foot and be more comfortable warm. I took a leaf of cabbage and broke it into a few pieces and placed it in a mug. I poured boiling water over it and left it alone for 15 minutes or longer. Then I strained out the hot water and dried the leaves. When the leaves were a comfortable temperature, I applied them to my foot and covered that with plastic, then used cohesive tape to secure everything. I did this two nights in a row and each morning noticed a significant reduction in swelling. Today is day 5 and I can walk without crutches. I am still keeping my foot up a lot and still applying the tincture. I have the toe taped to its neighbor. Actually I have two bandaids holding the toes together as that turned out to be the most comfortable option.

I have also been using comfrey internally. Comfrey promotes cell regeneration and healing to the bones and joints. Its nickname is “knitbone.” My favorite way to eat comfrey is in a saute. I wash and cut up the leaves and saute them in some coconut oil. I usually use 2-5 leaves of comfrey. When the comfrey is almost finished sautéing, I toss a tablespoon of pine nuts and a small handful of raisins to the sautee. I sprinkle this with some sea salt. I think it is delicious.

A broken toe can take 4-6 weeks to heal. I don't know how long it will be before a shoe is comfortable to wear again. I ordered some flip flop socks because wearing flip flops is easy on the toe but leaves my feet awfully cold here in November.

In hindsight I wish I had used the comfrey/arnica tincture earlier, but I didn't think about it at first.

I have also used Epsom salt soaks this week, but I am not sure but that the warm soaks are creating more swelling than they are relieving. Perhaps I started them too early (first night) and perhaps it would be better to soak in cool water.

I hope you don't need any of these remedies ever, but if you do, I hope they help you!

~Mama to Many~