Moderators: melkor

Broken Leg...anything I can do to burn calories and build up muscle?

Quote  |  Reply

Three weeks ago I broke 3 bones in my leg. (ankle)  I had surgery two weeks ago, will get my cast on Tuesday, then a boot in 6 weeks.  Long story short-I will be on crutches until Christmas Cry Is there anything I can do to make sure my leg does not atrophy?  I recently lost 30 pounds and I am petrified of gaining it back.  I have been doing crunches, but my range of motion is pretty much nil.

I can already see the difference in my quad in my good! 


7 Replies (last)

Won't the hospital give you access to a physical therapist who can help you figure  out what you can safely do? Or get one through your primary doctor - there are rehab specialists who do real good work out there.

 If that's not an option though... single-leg supplements can work once you've got the go-ahead to exercise from your attending physician - you'll need some support/assistance from a helper to ensure you don't fall and further complicate your injury though.

 Once you've got that, step-downs (assisted, unweighted, weighted) until your injured leg almost touches the ground should take care of the quads nicely, and can be performed safely if you've got an assistant with you. As long as you don't start from too high up and keep a hand on your assistant at all times anyway; it would be a terribad thing to try for too much range of motion and ram your broken ankle into the ground from three feet up.

Some form of single-leg deadlift can be performed safely - again, given an assistant - and it's a good exercise for most of the posterior pulling chain; I like it for the non-injured among us too.

 Bilateral symmetry is a wonderful thing - there's a certain amount of carryover to the non-trained leg when doing single-leg exercises like these, so doing them will prevent quite a bit of muscle atrophy in the non-trained leg. Won't stop it completely, but I've seen people throw about numbers like a 30%-70% reduction in atrophy in the non-trained leg. I have no idea what the source for those numbers are though, so I'd caution against reading too much into that.

oh wow, just wanted to say ur not alone, i recently sprained my ankle+knee, ive just been in bed tho, hope ur ok!

Hang in there! Injuries are hard for everybody. You'll make it through.

I think the "difference" you are seeing is in your head, so to speak. 2-3 weeks of not exercising will not make a difference in your musculature (nothing significant, anyway). After 2 months of not exercising, in fact, you still keep a lot of the benefits (about 50%). I learned this all in my spin class; my instructor has a PhD in this stuff and is amazing with all of her advice. :)

Don't be down. This stuff happens to a lot of people, and instead of straining yourself, appreciate the time you've been given to rest and calm your mind, even if it isn't easy. This way you'll recover faster and soon be healthy enough to work out again :) 

I agree with Melkor - talk with your surgeon or primary doctor.  If you are staying in the hospital for a day or two, ask your surgeon to have the hospital physical and occupational therapists see you while you are there.  If you aren't admitted, ask your surgeon to prescribe at least one or two visits with a therapist.  They should be able to print out some exercises. 

If therapy isn't an option, try one session with a personal trainer - they also should be able to give you some exercises you can do, either at home or in the gym. 

To prevent weight gain, make sure you aren't using this injury as an excuse to sit on a couch and not do any activities.  Using the crutches will cause you to use some muscles you're not used to using and will require more effort than you think.  So, if you're active, you'll still burn plenty of calories. 

Good luck.  I wish you the best in your recovery.

id say eventho it is tough, bc i know it is im rt there with you, take this time to rest.  crutches r hard and im sure a calore burn, but the injury in my knee makes it that it hurts even more when i bend my leg to have it lifted while i use the cruthes.  id rather take the time to recover as well as i can, rather than prolong the recovery trying to burn some calories.

Thanks to all for the sound advice.  I see my ortho doc on Tues., and I plan to ask him what I can do in the interim.  I am positive I will have to go to physical therapy once I am crutch-free, but I want to do something in the meantime. 

Healthy-It is extremely depressing.  I cannot do the simplest thing for myself.  Things we all take for granted:  showering, picking something off the floor, cooking, cleaning, make myself something to eat or drink, bathing my 4 yr old.  This has been an humbling experience.  Something as simple as steps, wet floors, etc. are things to be feared greatly.  I have fallen and it is not fun.

I know this is only temporary and I am trying to be a good sport, but admittedly, this blows.

:)  CNJ

 PS - Agruskin:  My shoulders and good leg are killing me!  My good quad is taking it all on...and I have 9 weeks left :(

ive been in bed since last thurs night, it is depressing but im realizing i cant change the situation, it ownt magically heal over night, rt?

so i want to heal well so im jsut letting myself rest.  i cant drive let alone stand up really, its awful! im jealous when i hear ppl cleaning and just doing daily activities, very humbling! but ive also realized that i cant adjust my eating by eating less, bc that just makes me eat more, so im jsut riding it out. yea, my good ankle hurts w all the extra weight, but when i walk w crutches i sort of bend the bad leg so it doesnt hit the floor, but bending the leg hurts my knee and sort of strains+stiffens my leg, im jsut staying in bed..

7 Replies