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Researchers have found that smoking significantly slows down the healing of fractures and ligaments following injuries. It is due to toxins that cigarettes contain that the healing is postponed. Additionally, cigarettes make smokers more prone to fractures, bone infections, healing problems and soft tissue wound healing.

The conclusions were made following two studies done on mice, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Football League Charities.

The first study included 35 mice that were divided into a smoking and a control group. The smoking mice were exposed to cigarette smoke 6 days per week for a month. Then the researchers performed surgeries to induce simple fractures. The study showed that the smoking postponed early healing and the development of mature cartilage cells but it had no significant effects on normal healing over time.

The second study included 40 mice, divided into smoking and control group, and examined the cigarette smoke effects on medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury.
The researchers used Type I collagen gene expression as a marker to quantify cellular density at the site of injury. It was found that the cellular density in non-smoking mice increased between 3 and 7 days following the injury while the healing in mice exposed to smoke was partially inhibited.

This was one of the first studies that examined the molecular and cellular mechanisms of fracture healing.

These studies showed obvious links between smoking and cartilage formation but researchers are hoping to see other effects smoking has on fracture healing in some of the future studies.

The conclusion is nothing different than expected. Smoking cessation in people could significantly improve and speed up the healing process after injury and above all decrease morbidity associated with cigarette smoking during fracture healing.


I've had a fractured 5th metatarsal on my foot now for past 8 to 9 weeks I'm just looking for an answer 2 my question I only smoke when I'm consuming alcohol which is only been 1 night a week out of 9 weeks mabey only been drinking 4 weeks out of the 9 ... Is this as bad as an every day smoker ?? Back to hospital Friday for x-ray my foot is now weight bearing without air-cast ... Any feed back welcome PS I'm only 24 y.o.a