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How to Exercise With a Broken Ankle

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

Let’s face it: exercising with a broken ankle seems like a contradiction in terms. When “exercise” is tantamount to working up a sweat, how are you supposed to burn calories and get summer-ready when your broken ankle is desperately crying out for you to hang out on the couch?

Listen, you don’t have to resign yourself to the next six months spent lounging around on the couch. With a little creativity – and a lot of patience – you can exercise your way to a healthy body without putting your broken ankle in danger.

In fact, when your doctors finally take off your foot cast to reveal your fully healed ankle, don’t be surprised if your appointment weigh-in reveals that you’ve slimmed down!

So how can you exercise with a broken ankle? The answers are surprisingly simple:

1.First, keep in mind that traditional cardio is completely out of the question now. That means swearing off treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, and other machines that forced you to put weight on your foot. And forget about low-impact workouts like yoga – all of the poses put significant weight on your feet (expect for headstands…but we really recommend that you don’t do that!).

2.Focus on the areas that you can work out. You may not be able to run a few miles on the treadmill, but you’ll definitely be able to rock killer abs with Pilates and crunches. Weak abdominal muscles can lead to poor posture, so use your broken ankle injury as an opportunity to whip your posture back into shape.

A safe abdominal exercise involves sitting in a chair with your back completely straight. Bring both legs up in a parallel line; hold for 5 seconds, then carefully lower your legs back down. Repeat to feel the burn.

3.To balance out the amazing abs that you’re going to have, grab yourself some light dumbbells and practice your arm curls. Sit in a chair with your feet firmly placed on the floor. With a lightweight in one hand, curl it up until it’s almost to your shoulder. Carefully lower your arm back down and then repeat – and watch as your arms transform into guns!

4.Get out and about in a knee walker. This mobility device makes it possible for you to take yourself for a walk, which is a great way of getting the exercise you need to stay in shape. To start with, go for a walk around the block to get used to the feel of the knee walker. Once you’re used to using your knee walker, start going for longer walks. You’ll get the cardio you need without putting your broken ankle at risk for re-injury.

If you’re exercising with a broken ankle, get in as many stretches as you can, especially after you’ve done a lot of walking with your roll about scooter. Stretch your arms out, and extend your legs to give yourself a nice all-over body stretch. Relax on the couch and put on a smile…because you’ve just taken another step towards excellent health.

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