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Broken Ankle
CREATED: 06/23/12 by tkopan REPLIES: 6
tkopan's ravatar tkopan    JOINED: 4/7/12    POSTS: 54
Broken Ankle
POSTED: 6/23/12 8:07 AM

Hello all,
Tomorrow I was supposed to complete my first Tri in Philly, but last weekend I broke my ankle :(
I'm staying positive and know there will be other races, but I'm wondering if anyone has any advice on maintaining fitnesses while on crutches/in a boot for 4-6 weeks (is it even possible)?
I'm starting to crave activity after a week of recovery, and am also really nervous about taking the boot off and discovering I've atrophied significantly.
Any advice, anecdotes and words of support welcome.

nomisdc's ravatar nomisdc    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 621
RE: Broken Ankle
POSTED: 6/24/12 9:21 PM

Get into the gym and lift. Be strong for a head start when you get the boot off. Ideal: Join a Crossfit Gym's Working Wounded program. Just ask a coach.
Exercises: Bench press, lat pulldown, seated press, DB raises, seated dips, tricep pushdown, tricep press / extension, bicep curls, seated rows, bent over DB rows, DB flys, DB press / bench / curl / pullover. cable rows / flys / delts, upright rows, hand stand pushups, shrugs, lower back extensions, crunches, oblique crunches, rowing machine (isolate leg), hand cycle, boxing (heavy bag). All of these I've done while in a boot.
Once you have the boot off: squat, deadlift, press, push press, front squats, overhead squats, good mornings, glute-ham situps, plank.
Note: majority of triathletes have never heard of these exercises.
For guidance, go here:
Stay active, don't get idle. Good luck!

Shanz's ravatar Shanz    JOINED: 6/13/12    POSTS: 49
RE: Broken Ankle
POSTED: 6/24/12 9:36 PM

Hey Tal, sorry to hear about your injury! Right before a race too -- that's a huge bummer. Way to stay positive!

I've been going through a much milder injury - stress fracture of a metatarsal - and I'm just starting to run again (ice ice baby). I've never been totally off running before, and based on how difficult my re-entry has been, I think there's no real substitute for it. But I've been relying on biking, swimming, elliptical and weights/mat workouts to try and stay in shape, and my cardio's not too bad.

Also, there's lots you can do in the gym from a sitting, lying or kneeling position, mostly core and arm stuff. I guess swimming's out while you're casted, but maybe a rowing machine, wheelchair or arm-powered bike could help with cardio before some of the other activities are possible.

Best of luck! Here's to speedy healing!


rojojade's ravatar rojojade    JOINED: 1/19/11    POSTS: 458
RE: Broken Ankle
POSTED: 6/24/12 10:06 PM

Tal -

I'm sorry to hear about that. I broke my arm right after DC Tri (late June). While others can give you better ideas on how to keep working out - something that you can do now is start looking for a physical therapist (pt) that you are going to want to work with when the cast comes off. I'm sure people here will be more then happy to let you know of someone they loved (Sport and Spinal Health for me) - but I went through a few docs and a few pts before I found someone that was willing to work with me on attempting to get me ready for Nations (early Sept). I just wanted someone that wasn't going to say it's impossible and knew that I was itching to get back to training.

As for working out in a cast/boot - start slow. It take a while to get use to it. And your limb will swell up around it as you sweat. Do not feel like you need to push yourself too much because it could hurt like a f'er when you start up because everything there is already inflamed and tender.

And yes it will atrophy. It can't be helped. And it's going to feel awkward for a while. But a great PT can help you through that phase. And another reason why you need to find a good PT that you will trust and listen too because at times you will feel like the PT is holding you back due to the slow progress. A good one will keep pushing you but will do everything to make sure you don't get hurt and set yourself back.

I really hope that you heal fast!


vatriathlete    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 685
RE: Broken Ankle
POSTED: 6/25/12 2:57 AM

sorry to hear about the ankle.

from what i have read i think there are some studies out there that have proved that if you workout the uninjured leg the atrophy amount in the injured leg won't be as bad. read that a couple of years ago in some nytimes article, no first hand experience though. so ask a pt or dr if that is true. if it is then you might still have to do some exercises for the healthy leg to sort of slow down the atrophy in the injured leg.

ankle injuries are always a bummer. make sure you get some good physical therapy afterwards and don't worry about the races this season and such, look at it as a long term thing, you want that strenght back in that ankle so that it won't cause long term problems in the future. i speak from experience don't make the same mistakes i did.

kkaufer's ravatar kkaufer    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 126
RE: Broken Ankle
POSTED: 6/25/12 7:53 AM

Sorry to hear about your ankle. Are you in a cast, or can you go into a pool? If so, I'd recommend aqua-jogging. It seems a bit weird at first jogging laps up and down the pool, but it's helpful in reducing muscle loss. Other than that, start looking for a good PT and as soon as you can start, get on it. And whatever you do, don't stop PT too soon. I suffered only a bad ankle sprain last summer, but it took me about 9 months to get back to 'normal' again. My ankle actually healed pretty quickly, but it took a lot longer than I thought to get my 'bounce' back. Good luck!

tkopan's ravatar tkopan    JOINED: 4/7/12    POSTS: 54
RE: Broken Ankle
POSTED: 6/25/12 9:57 AM

Thanks everyone for the kind words and great advice! It's echoing some of what I've heard/read. If I discover anything really useful, I'll post for future wounded athletes.
Thanks again, Hopefully I'll be back out there soon.

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