woe is my broken toe
June 27, 2014 5:12 AM   Subscribe

Got a little too enthusiastic practicing my Zumba moves a couple days ago, and smashed my pinkie toe into the coffee table. Oops. How can I burn 500 calories a day through exercise, and avoid going stir crazy with a freshly broken toe?

I miss exercise. I don’t want to regress on my 50+ lb weightloss, and have become a very active person - I'm going completely stir crazy. I really miss sweating, getting my heart rate up, and moving outdoors. Even just walking around doing errands. What kinds of exercises can I do that will give me a roughly 500 calorie burn, maybe 60-90 minutes a day, on a broken toe? I have access to a gym, but ideally things that I can do without a machine, and incorporate outdoors at the park?

Things that I’ve tried, that seem ok:
- using the elliptical at a low resistance
- simple squats (no weights)
- some bench exercises (tricep dips, etc)
- stationary bike machine (but not for more than 5-10 minutes)

That that do not seem ok
- rowing machine (strap over the foot causes painful pressure)
- stair climbing
- walking with shoes (going shoeless at home is ok though)
- yoga/pilates - I’m not patient enough for doing either. Peppy music is my workout buddy.
- Swimming (don’t have access to a pool)

Please help me move, sweat, and get some endorphins going!
posted by raztaj to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
First off, try finding some sandals that have space for your toe, so you don't add pressure, but are supportive/protective enough that they actually help while you're exercising.

Doing one activity for an hour will make you hurt, but maybe you can mix it up. Experiment with what types of exercises you can alternate, things for which the discomfort isn't additive: ride your bike 2 laps around the park (5-10 mins), then stop and do some upper body strength exercises (knee-based pushups, pullups if the playground has a jungle gym, whatever you like doing), then walk one lap around the park, then ride your bike 2 laps, etc. All this wearing your new exercise sandals, not closed-toe sneakers.
posted by aimedwander at 5:42 AM on June 27, 2014

I broke my toe this year and they give you some kind of flat hard surface shoe with velcro straps that makes walking totally fine. Ok, not perfect but much much better. And I was already on crutches (long story). By they, I mean my doctor/orthopedist. If you don't want to pay etc (if insurance etc issue, then I'm sure you can get one online 'used'). Ok, too early for me to type but definitely look into this flat shoe that you wear all day, inside and outside.
posted by bquarters at 5:42 AM on June 27, 2014

When I had a broken metatarsal I would do up to an hour of stationary bike at a time. DO you have or could you rent a "regular" bicycle? That might help you out.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 5:43 AM on June 27, 2014

Also seconding bquarters: you're looking for a "walking boot" and you can get them on Amazon (prime).
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 5:44 AM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Situps. I'd say other exercises using your own bodyweight, but they would put pressure on your toe. Just do sit-ups.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:02 AM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

My gym has two kinds of stationary bikes, "normal" and recumbent. When I broke my toe the recumbent was way more comfortable.
posted by Runes at 6:14 AM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Perhaps kettlebells? I don't think many of the moves would put pressure on your toe. You can do it barefoot, you can do a routine outside, and you will sweat & get your heart rate up.

You'd need to get a kettlebell. And you wouldn't do as long as an hour - kettlebell workouts are shorter, but even though you don't move around on your feet much, they're cardio & burn calories like whoa. You can start with a pretty light weight and it will still be a thorough workout.

Here's a beginner kettlebell workout (three circuits for 30 min. total) that I use; seems to me you could probably handle everything but the squat curls, which you could just skip or sub something else in.
posted by flex at 6:30 AM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Learn to hula hoop.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 6:38 AM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am an active lady who has a history of breaking toes and I happen to have one right now. I pretty much stick to the recumbent bike when I'm nursing a fractured piggy. There was a time when I would also try to do free weights with my upper body, but I stopped because my balance would get totally thrown off by the toe. Sadly, walking around and exercising outside are things that I would wait 3-4 weeks to try. In my experience, overdoing it can extend the recovery process and ultimately keep you off your feet/indoors much longer.

I feel your pain.
posted by Mrs.Spiffy at 6:49 AM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Have you been to Blogilates.com? The trainer, Cassey Ho, creates Pilates routines to peppy music. If you're OK with Pilates and it's just the absence of peppy music you don't like, you might like enjoy what you find there. Good luck!
posted by schooley at 11:42 AM on June 27, 2014

Thanks all for the suggestions! Hula hoop is a great idea - will see if I can pick one up tomorrow. I hate feeling so suddenly immobile. It really feels like I've put on 20 lbs in 3 days, though I know that's not physically possible. I think I'll probably try some circuits of all of the above - might need to break it up 2x a day to stay off the foot, and also prevent feeling so awful in the evenings. Probably a good time to explore some new exercise options w/ kettlebells, various bikes, and grow some patience/learn to slow it down with at-home pilates.

I tried to find one of those boot-shoe things, but couldn't locate a retailer after calling around. So I cut a large hole around the toes in the old running shoes I was about to throw out, and that seemed to help a lot with the pain from swelling/pressure. Walking for long periods is still painful, but the extra toe space helped with mobility.
posted by raztaj at 2:48 PM on June 27, 2014

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