Broken Leg Recovery



  • Also once it's healed you'll have to get your head round NOT favouring that leg. I found I would run and walk harder on my good leg and thus developed a weird sort of limping gait which kept the recovery slow. You have to try to run evenly on each leg (although obviously only when it's fully healed)
  • Day 8

    Trip to the physio on Wed was good. She gave me a load of exercises to do. Main objective is to get flexibility back in my ankle asap, so lots of stretching exercises using a PVC band, balancing on one leg, holding tip-toes etc. My calf is also pretty tight, so lots of calf extensions. She also said that i have to ice it 3 times a day, and keep elevated where possible, to get the swelling down.

    This is my only complaint about my treatment. When i had the cast put on, i was told to keep it elevated for 3-4 days to help swelling, but that after that i was fine to sit normally. It would appear that i should have been keeping it elevated as much as possible for the entire period.

    Im doing my exercises every morning before breakfast, and starting tonight, when i get in from the gym (plus a few random stretches during the day whilst sat at my desk)

    Flexibility is improving. Last night i managed to get down the stairs semi-normally i.e. one foot taking one step at a time, and my "hobble" is better than it was.

    What i am noticing though, is that when ive been seated for any length of time, when i get up again, i have quite of lot of discomfort. Yesterday i was sat in a car for a good two hours and when i got out i had a bad cramp in my quad - something ive never had before.

    Aim is to get the stairs conquered by end of next week (if not sooner)

  • Hi, well its been two and a half weeks since breaking my ankle (fibula) and I have had my cast changed once so far as a lot of swelling had reduced, which is a good sign.

    I spoke with both the Osteopath and the guy who fitted my plaster and received the following advice/info:

    That they expect to take the cast off after 6 weeks, so only 4 to go!.  I should only expect to see up to 13% atrophy in the calf and very little in the quad as you can do seated quad exercises whilst in the cast, to keep it elevated as much as possible as this will reduce the swelling and to do some hopping on my crutches to maintain strength.  They also mentioned that I could do exercises that do not affect the leg.

    So I have designed myself a programme of 5/6 days of 10mins core work and on 3 of those days to include 10mins upper body work.  I am also ensuring that I do at least 30mins hopping on crutches and that whenever I am sitting down I elevate the leg.

    I see the Osteopath again this Thursday and will have another x-ray.

  • Thought I best correct my blonde moment, I meant Orthopaedic not osteopath.
  • Recovery is going quite well.

    By follwing the exercises given to me by the physio, i have quite a bit of flexibility back in my ankle. Only cause for concern is that any squatting movement still causes a considerable amount of discomfort.

    Exercises are as follows

    3x30secs of calf stretches (both types)

    3x20 secs of balancing on one leg

    3x20 secs of standing on tip-toes

    3x20 secs of leaning back on heels

    Then manual movement of the ankle joint, holding all four (front, back and sides) positions for 20 secs, ending with 40 rotations (20 clock and 20 counter clock), and 5 mins of icing

    These are done morning and night, with more icing done in the evening

    Then at work i have tied one of the PVC bands i was given to the leg of the desk, and every hour or so, i do resistance movements in sets of 20

    Plus at the gym i try and stretch between sets

    Last night after my upper body work (still managed to bench 80kgs after a 6 week layoff image) i tried some running on the treadmill. I was holding onto the bars on either side of the treadmill, so i was putting minimal weight on my leg. Despite the initial shock and apprehension, it wasnt too bad. It felt really odd, and was a bit painful after a couple of mins, but thats only to be expected.

    I feel in myself that another two weeks and i could be ready for some proper running i.e. unassisted. Will prob still be treadmill work, but hey.

    Im now using the stairs properly as well.

    Some pain in the morning and im generally quite cautious about getting out of bed too quickly as the joint feels weaker for some reason. Prob all in the mind.

    So all in all, its going quite well.Im trying some leg work (with weight) in the gym tonight.

    Will post tom on the results.

  • First weight bearing leg session last night (in addition to some core work)

    Did 4x20 leg raises (i.e. seated leg raises working the upper quads). Min weight - 10kgs. Was fine, although a little burning in the left quad, but thats to be expected.

    Seated leg press (similar movement to a squat). No weight on this as the apparatus weighs a good 20kgs with no plates on it. Did 4x10 on this, trying to use the right leg less. This was quite uncomfortable towards the end of the last set, but, it was possible to carry out the movement, which im really pleased about as i was worried at the lack of movement i had in a squatting position.

    I was going to do some hamstring work and some calf work after that, but i decided to ease back a bit. I tried some one-legged tip-toes (on left leg) to finish. These were quite hard, and so will be focusing on these going forwards.

    The ankle was a bit tender after all that, so i gave it a good icing when i got in.

    Now that im happy i can take some weight bearing work in the leg, its full steam ahead (well maybe half steam for the first week....)

  • Hi, after 3week in cast I have been given a shoe and I am told that I can now put weight on the injured leg, however I am a little dubious to say the least, also how do you walk/hobble with these things? As obviously you  can not walk normally. 

    My next appointment is 25th Feb to have the cast removed!!image Only I was hoping it would be the week before, as that would have been a nice birthday present.

     Also at what point did anybody go back to work?

    Just I have been given a further 6 weeks off, however I am hoping that once the cast is removed I can return to my main job as that is sitting at a desk and I would just ask to be signed off.

  • I was back at work after xmas

    had about a 10 days in work in crutches, although TBF two of those days i was at home due to the snow. Luckily a colleague very kindly drove me into work and home again.

    i was under the impression that having the shoe meant that you could maybe stand with some weight on the injured leg, but that walking was out of the question

    BUT, i opted to keep my cast they way it was, so im speculating really

    just take it easy

  • Hi Daniel,

    I hope that your recovery has been going well! 

     I finally had my cast off Thurs 25th Febimage, however I live in the Sunderland area and due to my age (being only young- 31) and that fact it was a clean break that has been healing well, I do not receive any physio.

    I have just been told to walk as soon as possible without crutches, so its now day 2 and I can walk, well I think that is what you call it, its probably more of a very slow hobble.

    I have started to perform the exercises that have been mentioned on this post (basic movement of the ankle joint), I was wondering if anyone had any further advice on how to progress?

    Would any of you advise visiting a private physio?

  • Hi Thorpey

    Good news, glad you have your cast off at last !

    Advice wise, take it slow. I def think you should get back to walking as soon as you can. I ditched the crutches the day i got my cast off. Its hard to walk to start, but IMO the sooner you become less realiant on the crutches, the sooner you can get back to strengthening the leg muscle.

    Im pleased to say that on Wed i did 10 mins on the treadmill with minimal discomfort. I now aim to start road running again next week (with a new pair of Gel Kayanos as well image).

    I only went to the physio once. TBH i missed my 2nd appt (thinking it was on a diff day), but i figure if im back running and im walking fine, then i prob dont need to go back.

    My suggestions (based on my recovery)Week 1 - 2 focus on getting flexibility back in the ankle. Lots of icing to get the swelling down. Focus on walking again.

    Once you are at a walk/hobble you can start considering how long its going to take for running to be viable. I was able to "run" in week 3 - "run" meaning 100% supporting myself on the treadmill and trying a bit of supported running movement. As per the docs advice, if its hurts too much when doing it, or you get prolonged pain afterwards, then ease back.

    Trail and error basically.

    Next you get to the point of "proper" running i.e. unsupported. I started with 2 mins. Once i could do this, repeat for 3 days, with a days rest inbetween. Following week, increase to 5 mins (or whatever incriment you can handle), and repeat for 3 days, with a days rest inbetween. Then 8 mins, then 10 mins and so on. Again, if it hurts too much while running or you get prolonged pain afterwards, dial it back a bit.

    For me, i felt that there was a psycological barrier as well to overcome. You expect it to hurt since you broke the bone, but in reality, if you take it slow, it doesnt hurt like you think it will. Once you realise that, you can focus on your technique and increasing the distance.

    Despite being able to run again, i am still limping a bit when walking. Some of this could be purely psycological, as my leg doesnt really hurt much anymore, but i figure ill get past that at some point. What i am finding though, is that the knee joint of the left leg hurts when i first get up after sitting for any prolonged period of time. Not sure why this is, but im not too worried about it.

  • Wow thanks for that, I think I will follow your advice and concentrate on mobility/flexibilty in the ankle joint for first two weeks, as obviously at the moment there is very little in certain directions and movements.  I have ditched my crutches but still have them as back up for now, not that I plan on using them!

    I know what you mean about psycological as the "consultant" made me walk 2-3 steps straight away and I felt I couldn't, however since coming home I have been and will continue too walk/hobble.

     I am glad that you seem to be recovering well and Good Luck with you run outdoors! As it must feel great to be even at that stage.

  • yeah im quite pleased with my progress

    im about 2 weeks ahead of the 2 months that the doc said it would be before i could run

    But, who knows what the road run will throw up. As we all know, its diff from treadmill work, so i may have to start again in terms of working up to any sort of distance - am hoping not tho

    Not sure what you do for a job, but i set up the rubber exercise band under my desk at work (tied it to my desk leg), and every hour slipped my shoe off and did my exercises. Allows you to do it 8-10 times a day, and i reckon it helped me progress that bit faster

  • First road run on Tuesday morning

    Did 2.8km (roughly half of what i was doing most mornings). Took me prob the same amount of time it takes me to do twice that...

    As predicted, it was quite diff from running on the treadmill. The overwhelming thing being just how uneven the road is, even when its on the flat, and the impact that had on my ankle. My knee joints also started complaining about 5 mins into the run, but this is to be expected after 3 months off (plus i have put on about 3/4 stone due to a bulking diet). Im also getting lower back cramps, but im aware whats causing that, and am dealing with it.

    Was quite pleased with the Kayanos, but they are a little inforgiving at the moment.

    No prolonged pain afterwards tho, which is good. Ankle was a bit tender, but this passed overnight.

    The same again tom morning. Same route, same distance. See how i get on.

  • All

    Thought id update again on my recovery from my busted leg.Its been about 3 weeks since i started road running again. Its been a real trial to be honest, and harder than i anticipated. In the last 5 days i have run 5km 3 times, with the first 5km run being done last Sat morning. I am way off normal pace by about 6 mins....which is killing me, but this morning was 20secs faster than Monday, so i guess im improving.

    When i first started on the road it was quite a shock from the treadmill. Whilst the treadmill is very forgiving and allows you to push a lot harder, the road is completely unforgiving, and the main thing you notice is just how uneven the road is, even when "flat". However, i think the extra pressure has been good for my ankle in terms of loosening it up in the first instance, and strengthening it in the 2nd.

    As some of you alluded to, i have been favouring my right leg. The first couple of runs were agony, and i had to stop about 5 times and stretch to try and deal with it. Ive almost stopped doing it, but im still getting some cramp in my right leg, especially in the first 10-15 mins.The hardest aspect at the moment is the amount of time my left leg takes to warm up. I generally run before breakfast, and when i first get up, my leg is always a bit sore. Whereas before the break i would be into my stride within 5 mins or so, its taking up to 20 mins for my leg to warm up properly to the point where i feel i can open up my stride and speed up a bit. My aerobic fitness is back to what it was, but my leg hasnt caught up yet. This is what is impacting my time so much. Its only the last third of my normal course where i can get any decent speed going. V frustrating. A colleague suggested warming the leg up first, which is a great idea, but im already getting up at 5.30am, so im not sure i can do that.

    I was getting quite a bit of pain in both knees after sitting for long periods, but after reading an article on here about hip flexor movements and knee pain, ive started doing squats regularly in the gym again, and the pain had completely gone. I stupidly hadnt been training my legs in the gym, which is really daft when i think about it, but i have started doing a weekly session again, and its helped quite a bit (although sore thighs make morning running a bit harder).

    So to sum up, im happy that im back doing 5km regular again, but its still a bit of a slog, and i cant wait to get back to normal. Im itching to do 10km, but i think that will have to wait a few more weeks.

    Oh and i love my new Kayanos. They rock.

  • Hi all,

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  • sorry to go of topic but how do you start a new discussion? I am a new member and followed the email link to activate but can't seem to see the "start new discussion" button you usually see on other forums
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