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linnea56chgo5b

How to exercise with broken foot?

I came back from a wonderful trip. I had been in pretty good shape before as far as general fitness, stamina, etc., but did so much walking, much of it uphill, that I feel really terrific now. However, while on the trip I stepped in a hole in the dark and broke a bone in my foot. I thought I had just sprained it and waited until I came home (it had improved a bit but not as much as I thought it should have by then) to have it x-rayed. I now have a removable "boot" that runs almost all the way up to my knee, rather than a cast, because a muscle attaches to the bone and I have to immobilize that muscle to prevent it from constantly pulling the broken part away from the anchored end of the bone. I am supposed to keep the boot on all the time except when sleeping. Also am supposed not to walk too much to avoid making that muscle tug even more. Fortunately the X-ray shows I do not have osteoporosis, thank heavens.

I am afraid I will both gain weight and lose ground if I can't find a way to exercise this winter. I am 50ish and menopausal so staying ahead of the slowing metabolism has been challenging. As it is I weigh more than I'd like. Three seasons a year until winter traps me inside, I am physically very active. I have balance problems so walking on ice and snow has been a long-term problem. Until the injury I had been planning to use my home treadmill more.

I do yoga and will use what of that I can. Any other ideas? I have an exercise ball (unused) and a weight machine (not recently used, hemmed in in a store room in my basement). Thanks for the help!

Comments (31)

  • socks
    15 years ago

    I had a similar experience, but I was on crutches for quite some time. Surely you won't be using the boot all winter, will you? Usually 6 weeks is what it takes to heal a bone.

    You can exercise your upper body with hand weights. I got Judy Stoloves DVD's called CHAIR DANCING SIT DOWN AND TONE UP and CHAIR DANCING AROUND THE WORLD. They get kind of boring after a while, but something is better than nothing. I like the SIT DOWN AND TONE UP BEST. It gives a nice workout for the back and arms.

    Please be careful whatever you do. You don't want to make the situation worse; you want to heal fast fast fast!

  • trudymom
    15 years ago

    linnea56, I did something similar--started on a diet on July 1st, then broke my foot the next week. I didn't want to gain more weight so I just cut down on my eating since I was not getting as much exercise. I tried not to eat any white products--flour, sugar, potatoes. Then I quit eating by 6 p.m., brushed my teeth then so I would not be tempted. I lost almost 40 pounds in 5 months. I did exercises on the ball and sit-ups. I feel much better now. If I did it, you can too!!

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  • bluesibe
    15 years ago

    First and foremost, you have to heal. So if you are not suppose to walk to much, don't.

    Can you swim? That will help with the cardio and help maintain your weight. And as was suggested earlier, you can do upper body weights, even sitting down if you have to.

    Make your goal to maintain. But whatever happens, please don't get depressed. Just do your best.

  • linnea56 (zone 5b Chicago)
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Thanks for the suggestions and the support! Using my exercise ball and the sit-ups will be the first thing to try. I need to find more ideas for the ball; anyone know of an online source? When I bought it the booklet was missing. I will go to the library to check out videos as soon as I feel up to it. Swimming is not allowed: IÂm not supposed to bend or flex the foot at all. I canÂt have a regular cast because of driving (itÂs my right foot).

    So far IÂm not depressed but am a bit frustrated. I have had my plastic boot cast for just over a day and it is really crimping my style. Of course with Christmas almost here I keep thinking of errands I need to run. Since I was on a trip of course none of those things were done early. But I have to take the thing off to drive and then put it on again to get out of the car. So all the short hops I used to make I will have to reconsider. Last night, having had it on for only ~ 10 hours, I was aching from the waist down from having to walk around stiff-legged like Frankenstein. Clomping around the kitchen making dinner was tiring. (I guess thatÂs a form of exercise, right? :)

  • joannpansy
    15 years ago

    I just registered on this website, because I was searching the web for articles about exercising with a broken foot, and I came across your post. I broke the 5th metatarsal bone in my right foot when it fell asleep. I was at the computer, with my leg crossed for about an hour, and when I went to get up, I fell and twisted my foot. I didn't realize that my foot was asleep, because it wasn't tingling. Well, to make a long story short, I went to the dr the same day, which was 12/17/07, and I did break my foot. I am now wearing an air cast up to the knee to keep the foot and leg immobilized. I still did not drive yet, because I am afraid my foot is going to hurt. I see you mentioned that you have been driving. Is it painful for you. Is it a pain to have to keep taking the boot on and off when you get in and out of the car? The dr. said it will take at least 6 weeks to heal. Do you have to use crutches? I am using a cane. I have started doing exercises with hand weights, but I do miss walking.

  • linnea56 (zone 5b Chicago)
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Hi Joannpansy:

    Sounds like we have similar injuries. ItÂs odd how such a little thing can break a bone, isnÂt it?
    I have the aircast too. I have a hard time believing that it will heal with this thing. I suppose it works as well as a cast: when you have it on. But I take mine off for sleeping, and who knows how much I may move my foot around while sleeping?! ItÂs often sore when I wake up in the morning, and I know that means I have been stretching it while I sleep. I have driven a little: and yes, it hurts. It is almost impossible to drive without bending the foot, and that is what hurts. Plus it is indeed a pain to have to keep taking the boot on and off when I get in and out of the car. I tried a little the first few days and decided it was not worth it. When I had to run errands I arranged to go to the same mall with my 16 year old daughter so she could drive. Also standing becomes exhausting and painful very quickly. ThatÂs even harder than not driving. I can manage very little walking or standing without having to then take a long break and elevate it. I am asking every family member to do the running I normally do and that is demoralizing as well. I am not using a cane or crutches: probably should. He said it was not necessary. I go in 2 weeks to have it X-rayed. If it has not started healing he will re-think the aircast.

    Good luck with yours!

  • joannpansy
    15 years ago

    Hi Linnea56,
    Thank you for answering so quickly.
    Did you also break the same bone in your foot? I have an appointment with my dr. on Jan 4th, for him to check my foot. Then he will probably have me go to have another exray taken. I keep the cast on all the time. I just take it off at night, and in the shower. My foot doesnt hurt when I wake up because I try to keep my leg very still when I am laying down. I walk around with a cane, so that seems to keep the pressure off the foot. I hope by the end of the month, I wont have to wear the boot, because I will be going to Florida for my first grandchilds christening. Did you go to a foot dr or to an orthopedic dr. for your foot? I also have not been driving, but I hate to always have to depend on others to take me to the drs. and food shopping. My dr. told me that once the boot is off my foot, I might be wearing some type of brace on my leg. All of this for a tiny split in a bone!! Take care, and Good Luck, & have a Happy and Healthy New Year!

  • joannpansy
    15 years ago

    Hi Linnea56,

    I was just wondering how your foot was doing since we both have similiar injuries. I am still wearing the air boot. I am having an exray taken on Jan. 21st. than I go back to the dr. on Jan. 23rd. to see how the foot is healing. I have been reading online that it could take any where from 2 to 3 months to heal! I hope it doesn't take that long. Are you still wearing your air cast?

  • badin
    14 years ago

    How are you all faring with the exercises? Are there any you'd suggest that can be done in a wheelchair? I saw something advertised as an arm cycle; it looked like the pedals of an exercise bike on a smaller base. Would that really be any good? Based on prior experience with slow healing foot bones, I'm looking at 12 - 16 weeks before I can walk again. Any advice would be appreciated.

  • randyharris2_hotmail_com
    14 years ago

    I have broken my 5th metatarsal as well .I note that most posters seem to be wearing the knee high air boot rather than the short one which I have.What is the difference?Should I ask for the long version? As well, I'm doing quite a bit of standing, walking, driving etc. as my Dr. did not place any restrictions on me. I'm rather concerned as to whether I'm delaying healing. This is distressing as I do not want to prolong this situation any more than I have to.My foot is still tender, 2 weeks after the accident.Am I doing damage not staying off my feet?
    Any advice & thoughts would be appreciated.

  • dawindsurfer
    14 years ago

    The story:
    I broke my lisfrancs joint 1st and second metatarsal while windsurfing on 5/31/08. Since then I spent 2 weeks in a hard cast, followed by a surgery (2 screws to hold the bones in the foot together) and now in a hard cast again (the stitches to come out next week.) Then hard cast to be followed by an airboot.

    My exercise:
    I was very active in sports and feel like I already lost 50% of muscle weight in my injured leg. I have been trying to get some exercise in, but it has been tough. I have to have my foot elevated at all times or it hurts a lot.
    so the only exercises I am able to do are the ones that do not require sitting or standing.

    I do the following: (while on my back)
    ab crunches (keep my legs up and lift upper body)
    with my back on the bed, straight leg lifts
    followed by bicycle with my legs while on my back
    then
    flip slowly on to my stomach and do the leg lifts one at a time to work the hamstrings and butt.
    finish the routine off with push ups (keep your legs bent at the knees with feet up).

    And I was told to stay of my foot completely.
    Hope this helps and please let me know your comments and suggestions.

  • marcetta1_comcast_net
    11 years ago

    I am in the same situation. I broke my left foot and have been warned to place no pressure. I am in a air boot now for five weeks. Looks like another 4 or 8 weeks left. I am so nervous and do not want to gain any weight. Not only did I break my foot I now have a blood clot. For anyone that did upper weight training, did you lose weight or just maintain your weight?

  • wilmon1963_yahoo_com
    11 years ago

    I've been reading all these posts. But I still don't see anything about exercising with a broken foot. My foot is in a cast, a non weight bearing cast. How am I supposed to exercise with this? I dont want to sit around and watch my butt grow any more. Any suggestions??? I have a jones fracture on my left foot, I also have type 1 diabetes. What can I do????

  • linnea56 (zone 5b Chicago)
    Original Author
    11 years ago

    I did yoga exercises on one foot. I held onto a wall for balance. Plus I did a lot more floor exercises. I did mostly yoga, because that was about all I could do. I swam once: that was great.

    I did not gain any weight, it stayed steady. Perhaps being conscious that I was moving less, I ate less, too.

    After the first time period, I was X-rayed, and he said it had not healed. I had to continue the boot for another month. He stipulated, then, that I should stay off it as much as possible, because the flexing might have been interfering with the edges knitting. I went out to yoga and a very few must-do activities (like kid's choral concerts, etc.) but that was about it. I stopped cooking, shopping, any kind of sustained standing. When I went back in, it had knit sufficiently that he said I could lose the boot, though he had me buy a foot brace at the sporting goods store, which I wore for any standing or walking for the next 2-3 months. But that I could wear inside a lace-up gym shoe.

  • annettemd_hotmail_com
    11 years ago

    Hi Monica, I have a fractured foot for 9 weeks now, 8 weeks in a boot with crutches. I just did leg lifts sitting in a chair, back leg lifts leaning against the kitchen cupboard, side leg lifts both inner and outer and stretches sitting down on the floor. I could only take it off for a shower and had to sleep in it as well. I started to put on weight though then added sit ups and bicycle lying on my back on the rug.
    Hope this info helps.

  • rhelms06_yahoo_com
    11 years ago

    To Dawindsurfer,

    How did you do the leg curls on your stomach? I have the same injury and am so frustrated by being so immobile. It's even hard to work and I work in an office. I can't get my foot high enough and my hips ache when I sit at the desk too long. The bicycle kicks didn't hurt? I get my stitches out this Friday and then the 9 pins out sometime in July. Multiple hard casts ending up eventually with a walking boot. Any advice would be appreciated. The worst are the pain pills (to take vs. not to take) and not being able to sleep! HELP!! :-)

  • jwall27
    10 years ago

    Wow. Nice to see others with foot problems out there. I have been dealing with an injury that started out as simply an extra bone that had shattered. Surgery went well. Bone was removed and I was wheelchair bound for about three months. Then crutches. Then knee walker. Then air cast. As you can see it has been a long recovery. Now almot two years out I am dealing with various joint issues. Through the course of these two years I have gained a considerable amount of weight seeing as I used to be extremely involved with volleyball and now can hardly walk across a room. These comments have been very helpful in dealing with my exercis issues. I tried cutting back in my caloric intake but still seemed to gain weight. Tis should solve my issues! Best of luck to all declaring with your foot issues! Hope you heal faster than I have!

  • linnea56 (zone 5b Chicago)
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    Best of luck to you, jwall!

    I'm now 4 1/2 years out from my injury. I thought healing was very slow. Looking back, I should have rested it more, since I had to spend twice as long in the aircast than originally expected. It still aches from time to time, if I have been on it all day. But even that is slowly getting better.

    As far as exercise was concerned, I found yoga the most useful. But I had been doing that for years, so it was not like I had to learn anything new, just adapt it. If you have joint issues, then I would highly recommend it, as it keeps you flexible and prevents arthritis setting in to your joints. You can get videos at the library, and there are ones for people with mobility issues ("Chair yoga", for example). I have always found it more useful to take a class, though. That way I had the teacher to show me variations. Try your local YMCA or Park District. A friend with a severe back injury was able to sign up for a yoga for seniors class, even though technically he was not old enough. When he explained the mobility issues, they were happy to enroll him. Half the people in the class exercised in chairs.

    Some Ys will have a warm water therapy pool, and offer classes in that. To have your weight supported while exercising with an injury is helpful. It is offered in evening adult education classes in high schools too, since they already have the equipment. Look for "Aquacise" classes. Considering you have had surgery too, I think that would be the safest way for you to get moving again.

    I was worried about gaining weight, so listened to a weight loss hypnosis CD every night after going to bed. It was by Paul McKenna, "I Can Make You Thin". I lost 25 pounds, though it did take 8 months. I still listen to it any time I think I am "going off the wagon". It is not like browbeating, it is more like gentle encouragement to adopt healthier eating habits and lose the bad ones. You find your self slowly making gradual healthy changes, without even realizing it. It is the only thing I ever found that addressed my snack habit. I cook and eat proper meals, it was just the cookies, candy and chips I ate outside of meals that did me in.

    Good luck, and I hope you will heal quickly.

  • flowers67
    10 years ago

    Thank you linnea56 your follow ups hv been so helpful to me. I am 67 and broke 5 th metatarsal 3 weeks ago. I Don't think I have osteoporosis ( test to be done ) as I hv always played sports - badminton, field hockey, golf and ate a good diet. Like all other posters I feel very frustrated at being inactive especially at this age when you lose muscle strength so quickly. Healing a broken metatarsal seems a bit of a hit or miss affair. I had a cast for one week, now I have a boot but how much should I stand or walk in it? I assumed that being given a walking boot means I can walk without the crutches and resume normal routines where I can. My foot feels comfortable in the boot. But your experience has made me very cautious. The uneven weight on my feet and also because my booted leg is longer than the other means getting about makes my back ache tremendously. It's such a relief to take it off when I go to bed but the bed covers put uncomfortable pressure on the foot. Would this irritate the knitting process? Today I am visiting a physio and hope she will tell me what's what.
    I live in th Uk and had fast, efficient service in our 'state of the art' local hospital free on the NHS but once you leave the hospital it's very difficult to get answers to questions, with hindsight, you should have asked at the time.
    However, on the bright side I have had a grand excuse to watch all of the Olympics, the sun is shining, Para Olympics start at the weekend ( now those athletes have overcome real problems!) and the worst that can happen is my bum will get even bigger - and thanks to you mentioning Paul McKenna's "I can think you thin" which I have ordered today, I should get my weight under control.
    This is such a helpful forum, thanks everyone and keep posting.

  • debs123
    10 years ago

    Hi all, this is my first time posting and it helps to know that there are many of us frustrated and wishing we could get back to normal, computers are a great link! I broke my foot (5th metatarsal) 3 weeks ago just slipped of a curb. I am in plaster up to knee and not to weight bare at all,use crutches. Lack of exercise is a big concern as i know all me muscles are shrinking by the minute, I do exercise my good leg while laying on the bed, raising it and holding up for as long as poss, my bad leg im leaving well alone as i can nurse that back to health when its out of plaster and knitted together. Eating...ive comfort ate since breaking it, now, 3 wks on have realised that i need to consider what im eating and stick to a low fat diet if i dnt wana pile anymore weight on, vicious circle isnt it :( still, got xray/hosp tmoro so hopin its healing:)

  • flowers67
    10 years ago

    Good luck tomorrow. Debs123? Let us know if the new X-ray shows your bone is knitting. We seem to have got the fracture about the same time , August 5 th so it will be interesting to compare progress. I am waiting for my physio to email me some exercises. I,ll post them here for you to try.

  • debs123
    10 years ago

    Hi, broke 5th metatarsal at base on aug 4th. Had cast on and been completely non weight baring since. Had xray today, and yay, its knitting well. I asked for cast off if poss, doc agreed but said use crutches, put bit of weight on that foot because it stimulates healing process, exercise ankle to prevent stiffness but other than that he feels it will be good to go in around 3 to 4 weeks.Doc said could of had it re cast today for another 2 weeks but i feel i can treat it well and i have time off work and no kids at home now so i would rather leave it off and give my muscles and tendons a fighting chance!No physio has been offered but i expect the G.p may offer that when i c him next. :)

  • flowers67
    10 years ago

    It's surprising how different treatments for the same condition can be. Are you Uk or US? Am waiting for exercise sheet to arrive but I have bought a 'Swiss' exercise ball to exercise my core muscles and sharpen balance. Pleased to hear your bone is knitting well. Take care with the crutches.

  • debs123
    10 years ago

    Im from hampshire, UK, i think everyones experience differs, (quite considerably) sometimes depending on where you live and what doc u see, There seems to be no set treatment followed, just a lucky dip approach :( I feel that being non weight baring for a few wks must benefit as it gives the bone time to knit, a cast versus a boot, im not sure, what does anyone else think? Im glad to be able to move my ankle from the rigid position its been held in for the last 3 wks tho! I havent tried an exercise ball, not brave enuf incase i roll off, let me know if theres a technique to it? Ive been using a wheelie office/desk chair to whizz around my kitchen etc, found it gives my gd leg exercise at least and saves me bad leg from holding up my increasing bulk...happy days!!

  • Allison468
    10 years ago

    Hi Everyone-
    3 months ago I hurt my foot and I believe it is a Jones fracture of the 5th metatarcil.The Dr. I saw dismissed it as tendonitis, and gave me no info or help because the fracture didn't show up on the X-ray. He was supposed to get me an MRI and that was 2 months ago. AS it got much worse from walking on it I went a bought a boot. Make a long story short, the Dr office has been dreadfully unhelpful,(different people call back, lose orders, etc) and I am in severe pain and back in the boot when I thought it was getting much better a few weeks ago,. But I was packing and moving and bending over to carry heavy boxes and twisted my foot and now the bone is painful, red and swollen again. It hurts all night when I try to sleep. I have a hard time finding a new doctor. Should I go to an Urgent care. It has been over 3 months I have been incapacitated. I am a single Mom and have no one to help me or drive me. Driving every day hurts but I have to. I cannot get motivated to go in to Urgent care but think I must. Any advice? (I had also herniated a disc in my back last fall and it took 6 months to heal) I am 49 yr old female. Some of the other Dr office I called said they aren't taking new patients...What to do? I had done this to my foot by taking a leap up into the air and landing on it (the one foot) wrong (was trying to demonstrate a dance move to my kids)It hurt for a few days before I realized something was wrong.

  • linnea56 (zone 5b Chicago)
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    Oh, my goodness! You need a new doctor! I don't know what, if any, insurance you have. Urgent care might not be covered, since it did not just happen. I have only used an emergency room a few times in my life, and even when it was covered, I still had to pay 20%, which can be A LOT. I had an appendectomy in January: but I drove myself to my doctor's office for the diagnosis, because otherwise the emergency room bill (my share) would have been a lot of money. Once he diagnosed it, he sent me to the hospital, and it was fully covered.

    If it was me, I would keep calling around until I found a doctor who could take me. Do you live in a rural area where doctors are scarce? You've been living with it this long.

  • alixkml
    10 years ago

    Hi

    I was at a wedding August 18, a bridesmaid in fact. Dancing away...no heels, did not sleep on anything nor did anyone knock into me. Down I went...sprained my left ankle horribly and broke my 5th metatarsal bone. Had surgery to place a screw on August 24 to hold the two pieces together. I am now in a surgical boot and can place full weight on my foot but need to keep it flat. No bending or weight bearing through the toes. I had to use a walker for 6 weeks and I'd alternate between that and my crutches. Since I can bear full weight on my foot I am trying to not depend on my assisted devices as much. Stairs were the hardest which is why I preferred the walker over the crutches.
    I am a runner, ran cross country and track my whole life. I was pretty active in my life and really enjoy hitting the gym. By the time I return to work I will be out of commission for 11 weeks. I have lost a lot of muscle tone over all but only gained 2 pds. I can't wait to start working out again or to just start walking "normally" again. It's definitely a long, slowly, grueling healing process.

  • algaewiz
    10 years ago

    I also broke my 5th metatarsal distally, complete break, slightly displaced. Its called a dancer's break (and I was dancing when I did it), and does not normally require surgery. I did it 11/28, and the doc put me in an aircast until 1/22. I technically have no restrictions (which I am really questioning), but have to have it on all the time, including to sleep. I take it off to shower and for a couple of hours at night to ice the foot, which really seems to help since they don't me taking advil or aspirin. As of this week (4.5 weeks post injury), I am using the aircast without crutches most of the time, but its slow going and awkward and I try to stay off the foot if I can. And I really want to exercise. Has anyone else tried the chair exercises DVD mentioned above? I'm wondering if a trainer at the Y might be able to help me find some exercises that I could do on the nautilus equipment while I'm in the cast? I am beyond frustrated and I so agree that there seems to be no standard treatment for this kind of break. I've seen everything on the web from walk as you want to completely non-weight bearing for the same type of break. Made Xmas miserable...since I am the one who does any decorating and all the present buying!

  • hpcorporan
    9 years ago

    Hi! I am new to this forum and I am grateful for the advice, especially linnea. I fractured my fifth metatarsal in right foot on February 21, 2013. I am seeing my orthopedic surgeon for it, I am in a boot and he says to not take it off, only to shower. Had an xray yesterday and no change, which they say is good because they want to make sure bone hasnt shifted. He says its a 6 week healing, but I worry it may be longer. I was told not to drive and to walk only as needed. Worried about weight gain. I have lupus, along with lower back and other arthritic issues, so I can't let myself get too tight. Used to practice yoga and tai chi regularly, I have a DVD but not same as going to center. Today I did 22 minutes of free weights, sitting on stool, and some leg lifts. Not being able to drive is kicking my butt, but also want to heal quickly and correctly,,in my 50's so weight gain also an issue. Any other ideas?

  • Arhsub
    9 years ago

    Do YOGA,
    It is simple and easy, you can do it with broken foot easily.
    Concentrate on your diet, I bet you will be fitt.

  • kitchenbacksplash
    9 years ago

    Thank you for answering so quickly.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Zumba Class

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