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November 1, 2007 8:10 PM   Subscribe

How to work out with a fracture?

3 weeks ago I had an accident before a game resulting in a knee injury. Emergency care just said it was a slightly torn quad and asked me to take it easy. 3 weeks later, my Orthopedist says it's a tibia plateau fracture and wants me to stay off the leg completely (but I've been walking and biking [around town/to work] these past 2 weeks). I'm getting tired of being indoors and not being to break a sweat is driving me crazy. How can I workout in the meantime?

PS: I'm 29
posted by special-k to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
I recommend reading this article.
posted by Capri at 8:25 PM on November 1, 2007

From the article: But unless it's something as serious as a broken bone or a ripped ligament or muscle, stopping altogether may be the worst thing to do.

Doesn't a fracture count as a broken bone?
posted by Airhen at 8:48 PM on November 1, 2007

You might be able to work your upper body while seated. It may not be breaking a sweat, but you want to take care of a fracture or severe injury lest it not heal correctly and leave you more prone to future ones.

I had a back strain this year, so I understand the antsy feeling. I was training for a 5k when I injured myself.
posted by cmgonzalez at 11:03 PM on November 1, 2007

Push-ups? Pull-ups? Dips? Sit-ups, L-sits? Core and upper body work? Power clean-and-jerks at a lighter weight emphasizing the pull from the traps, bench press, shoulder press. You could go to Crossfit and do some of their scaled workouts. Browse through their archives and find workouts emphasizing the upper-body and sub in upper-body exercises for any lower body ones. You can get a real workout just doing upper-body stuff if you're doing it metcon.

But be careful! I got a leg injury that put my lower-body, subbed in all upper-body work for my lower-body stuff, and came out with a pulled rotator cuff and unable to do much except core work.

Gently working out the injured area is helpful only for tendons and muscles. It's not going to do squat for broken bones, since a lot of what helps "active healing" work is the increased blood flow making up for the added stress--which doesn't happen with broken bones.
posted by Anonymous at 2:11 AM on November 2, 2007

My gym has an arm-bike specifically for this purpose - is there one near you with similar? Failing which, I'm afraid you're going have to suck it up - follow your doc's instructions and sit back for a bit - its better to get your leg better than risk delaying recovery by early excersise...
posted by prentiz at 3:03 AM on November 2, 2007

posted by thinkingwoman at 4:18 AM on November 2, 2007

Man. I wish I had a drive to work out. Can I borrow yours while you have the fracture?

I'm kind of surprised no one has carted out the "ask your doctor" line (prentiz said follow the doc's instructions, but that's slightly different). No doubt this orthopedist encounters loads of patients with exactly the same issue and knows *exactly* what exercises you can and can't do. Ask him or her for advice.

If you keep stressing the tibia it might heal incorrectly. That would be a bad thing. Don't do anymore strenuous walking or biking.
posted by Deathalicious at 5:07 AM on November 2, 2007


As someone who has been dealing with the fallout (knee problems, hip problems, ankle problems, back problems, etc., etc.) from an improperly-healed tibia fracture for 20 years, I recommend doing absolutely no exercise without medical clearance. Have each specific exercise designed or approved by a physical therapist or orthopedist. Don't try to figure stuff out on your own.
posted by backupjesus at 6:30 AM on November 2, 2007

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