Broken ankle rehab

Broken ankle rehab

I recently had an ankle operation and will be in plaster for six weeks followed by six weeks in a boot. After this, I have been told that I can start walking and cycling again. I was cycling 120 to 150 miles a week and doing a number of sportives and audaxes, which I want to get back to as soon as possible. Please can you advise me on the best training to regain my fitness?

David Morris

There are several general principles here and I’m afraid I’ll have to resort to a few clichés. Firstly, everyone is different so your recovery will depend on a number of factors, including the type of injury and surgery you had.

Next, the more you put in, the more you’ll get out, so do persevere with the exercises, tedious as they may be. Thirdly, don’t try and do too much too soon. Once back on the bike, build up your mileage steadily, listen to your body and don’t overdo it.

The internet is awash with anecdotal advice and personal experiences, some very useful and some less so. I came across several cyclists who were advocating use of a turbo trainer (if you have access to one) during the recovery period after ankle surgery, on the basis that it allows you to control the stress on the ankle joint.

Exercises to strengthen and improve flexibility of the ankle after the boot is removed will pay off in the long-term. You could take the opportunity to concentrate on other activities like walking and swimming during the initial stages of your recovery. If you get the chance to see an NHS physiotherapist, they will be able to advise you on appropriate exercises. If you need basic exercises and have not been provided with any, try typing ‘ankle exercises NHS’ into an internet search engine of your choice for some NHS hospital physio advice leaflets which can be downloaded. You might also want to consider seeing a sports physio for some more specific advice.

Matt Brooks

 

This was first published in the June / July 2014 edition of CTC's Cycle magazine.

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