Nutrition for acute exercise-induced injuries

Ann Nutr Metab. 2010;57 Suppl 2:43-53. doi: 10.1159/000322703. Epub 2011 Feb 22.


Background/aims: Injuries are an unavoidable aspect of participation in physical activity. Little information about nutritional support for injuries exists.

Review: Immediately following injury, wound healing begins with an inflammatory response. Excessive anti-inflammatory measures may impair recovery. Many injuries result in limb immobilization. Immobilization results in muscle loss due to increased periods of negative muscle protein balance. Oxidative capacity of muscle is also decreased. Nutrient and energy deficiencies should be avoided. Energy expenditure may be reduced during immobilization, but inflammation, wound healing and the energy cost of ambulation limit the reduction of energy expenditure. There is little rationale for increasing protein intake during immobilization. There is a theoretical rationale for leucine and omega-3 fatty acid supplementation to help reduce muscle atrophy. During rehabilitation and recovery from immobilization, increased activity, in particular resistance exercise will increase muscle protein synthesis and restore sensitivity to anabolic stimuli. Ample, but not excessive, protein and energy must be consumed to support muscle growth. During rehabilitation and recovery, nutritional needs are very much like those for any athlete desiring muscle growth.

Conclusion: Nutrition is important for optimal wound healing. The most important consideration is to avoid malnutrition and to apply a risk/benefit approach.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / therapy*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Muscle Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Muscle, Skeletal / injuries*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Wound Healing


  • Muscle Proteins