Broken Leg Blues

I'm a fairly active person who normally eats pretty healthy, but I ran into a bit of a snag this week since I broke my tibia! Has anyone been through this before? How did you keep up fitness/prevent becoming one with the couch as you recovered from the injury? I know I've got at least 6-8 weeks until I can walk again so any advice is deeply appreciated!


  • cmriverside
    cmriverside Posts: 32,294 Member
    Oh, my gosh, I'm so sorry. I've been laid up with injury several times since losing weight and it's torture to not be able to get out and walk, exercise. Plus I tend to just eat when I'm stressed and the whole thing is just a big cluster when I'm injured.

    I don't think there's a whole lot you can do other than try to keep food in the house at a minimum level of treats, and just eat at maintenance. Healing takes calories, so there's that. Plus I stay off the body weight scale. SO much inflammation with an injury like a broken bone.

    Hopefully you'll graduate to a boot at some point. I also hope you have shows in your queue...
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,888 Member
    Unfortunately you can't really keep up with your fitness, you just have to rest and recover. It comes with the territory. The good news is that if you've built a good base of fitness, you're not just going to 100% lose that overnight. It'll be a temporary setback, but once you can get going again, you'll gain back what you've lost pretty quickly. I've had multiple fitness injuries over the last 10 years...most of them minor, but one that took me out for about 8 weeks and another that took me out 12 weeks plus another 4 weeks or so of primarily rehab work and from there it was another couple of months before I was really able to do everything I wanted to do.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,834 Member
    I never broke anything that major, but did break my ankle, plus have had some other surgical recoveries, some in the 4-week range. I'd suggest pure rest at first (while the injury and any surgery are in acute recovery), but after that upper body exercise may be possible, if approved by your doctor - maybe even some things with the uninjured leg, if you're cautious. There are some quite-vigorous upper body cardio-type workouts on YouTube, designed for serious wheelchair athletes, for example.

    Don't overdo, though. Overstress-would be counter-productive for healing, which is job 1.

    Other than that, it's mostly do other things, eat somewhat less, and live with the s*ck.
  • mimimunchery
    mimimunchery Posts: 64 Member
    Ugh I can totally empathize. I just came on here to ask a similar question. I just broke my ankle on Saturday. Bare minimum six weeks before I am off crutches and the 4 months before I can or do anything super active.

    I am worried about gaining weight through lack of exercise but even more than I am so worried about getting bored and antsy. I am naturally really active - I love walking and Exercise (jogging or resistance traininf( 5 or 6 days a week.

    At least we can commiserate. How did you break your leg?
  • Xellercin
    Xellercin Posts: 797 Member
    I've mangled myself a few times, and the key is to focus on healing. Eat well, modify your intake to account for the reduced activity, and do what your PT says.
  • fittocycle
    fittocycle Posts: 821 Member
    I haven't broken anything like that but did recently have some extensive foot surgery. I was in a cast for 7 weeks (completely non weight bearing) and then a walking boot for 3 weeks. I couldn't put any weight on it so I could weigh myself for almost three months. During that time of recovery, I gained two pounds which wasn't bad considering that I can put on that much from Thanksgiving to Christmas!

    During my recovery, I set my diary goal at a maintenance number and tried my best to accurately log what I ate. That being said, I was at the mercy of whatever my friends brought us over for dinner or my husband prepared for us. I do believe your body needs extra calories to heal. Make the most of those calories with healthy choices!

    I did make it a point to get up and use my crutches or knee scooter a couple of times every hour. Also, I had my husband bring me some light dumb bells so I could do some upper body weight training. Besides that, I watched a lot of Netflix and read an untold number of books!

    Take care and give yourself permission to heal. You'll be starting physical therapy before you know it!
  • Cheesy567
    Cheesy567 Posts: 1,186 Member
    Ask your doctor or PT what you *can* do… core exercises on your back? Arm exercises with light weights or bands when sitting that won’t require you to brace with your leg or when laying down maybe? Leg exercises for your other leg? Not knowing the placement or severity of the fracture, or how likely you are to push the limits, it’s impossible for anyone to give you advice over the internet. But someone who has seen you can give you some exercises.

    I have a muscle disease that lets me walk pretty far some days, and has me bed bound for other days. I have the “negative calories” feature on MFP enabled to help manage that— it subtracts calories when my activity is too low. You might want to make sure you do not add in calories for things like “housekeeping” or “meal prep” just to make yourself feel good, they’ll add to your weight creep, most likely. And don’t over-add calories for “workouts” if they aren’t getting your HR up significantly. Don’t cheat just to eat. Expect your calorie needs to drop slightly.

    If you have a step counter that you wear on your wrist, check and see that it isn’t counting steps for hand and arm activities like reading or putting away dishes, and see wether it is picking up your crutch walking. You might want to wear it in your pocket or on an ankle or something if that’s an option.