Whenever you suffer an injury to the musculoskeletal system, there is some degree of tissue damage. In minor sprains and strains, it is microscopic tears to the fascia, muscle fibers, tendons and ligaments; in major sprains and strains it is complete rupture or tearing of large groups of muscle, ligament and/or tendon fibers.
The first thing the body does at the onset of the injury is initiate the inflammatory response. Various biochemicals constitute inflammation; each having an important role. Inflammation confines the injury to the injury site and is actually the first step in tissue repair. It is only when it is overproduced that it becomes a problem in itself (which is why you should use ice therapy to mediate swelling the first few days after an injury).
At some point, the body sends special cells called fibroblasts to the injury site. These cells synthesize connective tissue comprised of collagen to close the tears of the injury.
Collagen is the main protein of connective tissue in animals, making up 25%-35% of the total protein content . It forms as elongated fibrils (long chain of amino acids in a strand formation) and is mostly found in fibrous tissues such as tendon, ligament and skin, as well as other places in the body.
Therefore, after sustaining an injury, the body needs a ready supply of protein in order to properly heal itself. If you recently sustained a soft tissue injury such as a sports injury to a joint, whiplash car accident, or sprained your lower back from heavy lifting, make sure you are eating enough protein. I recommend whey protein due to its ability to be digested very rapidly, making it available for use shortly after consumption. Whey is a protein-rich byproduct that is formed during cheese formation, usually from cow’s milk.
Body builders and athletes drink whey protein shakes after workouts to help increase amino acid levels in the blood, which are taken up by the muscles to ultimately increase mass. During exercise, whey helps improve blood flow by inhibiting an enzyme that constricts blood vessels; this allows better flow of nutrients to needed areas to help repair and rebuild muscle tissues.
Leucine is an amino acid found in whey protein shakes. When leucine is ingested in high amounts it stimulates protein synthesis, which may speed recovery and adaptation to the stress that occurs from heavy exercise and injuries.
Another good source of protein is eggs. Eggs are a complete source of protein, especially the yolk. Cook them at low heat; and if you have the stomach for it, eat them raw.