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Old 01-05-2009, 07:07 AM   #1
Ryan Whitley
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Exercise after ankle surgery

I am looking for some new ideas/advice for what I am about to go through...

I have a broken ankle. I am having surgery at the end of January and will not be able to do squats until the end of April at the earliest. I will be in a hard cast for 2-3 weeks and then in a removable boot until the end of April. Here is my question:

What can I do to maintain leg strength?

I love big lifts (squat, deadlift, clean, jerk, snatch, etc) and am very nervous about what I can do to try and minimize the strength that I am about to lose. Any ideas would be appreciated. I am even considering using the leg extension machine...God help me...
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Old 01-08-2009, 10:09 AM   #2
Chris Valine
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Re: Exercise after ankle surgery

I had ankle surgery in nov of 07 so i know what you are talking about. initally you wont be able to do anything but i would suggest quad extensions and hamstring curls once in the walking boot. they wont put any stress on your ankle and will still let you work on some leg strength. once out of the boot and cast you just have to take it day by day to see how it feels. start off light and build up (for squats/cleans etc). there are a lot of ankle rehab that im sure the docs will have you doing (and they do work!). I was pretty much back to 100% in march of 08

the upside is that you will probably get a stronger upper body, cuz this will allow you to work on pull-ups!
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Old 01-09-2009, 08:19 PM   #3
Sarah Scholl
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Re: Exercise after ankle surgery

what were the details of your fractures ( both of you)? I fractured my fibula, ( an oblique fracture-not spiral) and the Drs recommend surgery...but have told me that it is borderline..I have decided not to get surgery, as I am already 3 weeks healed and it feels great.
Has anyone ever fractured the fibula by the ankle and recovered fully without surgery?
does anyone know what the possible limitations would be?
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:44 AM   #4
Ryan Whitley
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Re: Exercise after ankle surgery

Mine was a small fracture on the actual ankle bone but the main damage was that the ligaments were stretched to a point that they never fully contracted back to their normal length. The result was that I would turn my ankle (severely) every couple of months.

I don't know about a fibula fracture. If it was me, I would go ahead and get the surgery. My experience is that small problems become big problems if they aren't dealt with quickly.
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Old 01-22-2009, 12:09 PM   #5
Steven Low
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Re: Exercise after ankle surgery

Well, depends on how bad the fracture is & if they can set it [well] with just manual maniplations and a cast.

I would make sure your doc is a doc who treats athletes though. They generally tend to know when surgery is required to perform at the same level or if they can get away without surgery and get back to the same level of performance aftewards.


As far as exercise.. unilateral strength work as everyone said is good. But try to keep the volume fairly low so you don't get excessive strength/hypertrophy imbalances by the time your other leg is ready to go. Causes a host of other problems.
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