Broken Leg Strengthening

Question:

I have recently broken my tibia/torn my fibula and now have a titanium rod embedded in the tibia.

The range of motion in my leg is quite extensive, however I have lost a lot of muscle mass in the effected thigh

Without physiotherapy (according to my surgeon I do not need it) I am unsure of ways to strengthen my quads without needing to place weight on the lower leg.

Leg extensions helps somewhat, but could you suggest other ways to strengthen my quad muscle?

I am only permitted to bare 30-40 lbs on the injured leg.

Answered By:

Mike Behnken, MS, CSCS ANswers the Fitness Question

Qualifications of Mike Behnken

Sorry to hear about your broken leg.  It sounds unusual that your surgeon would send you to physical therapy for even one session.

Since you are limited in what you can do for one leg, it is a good idea to perform intense weight training on the rest of your body.  There is some, albeit small crossover effect for any body part when you work other body parts.

Physical exercise of any kind will help your body become more efficient at strengthening and improving the broken leg.  Another good idea is to perform isometric contractions with your injured leg.

Before weights people exclusively used isometric contraction to build their bodies.  Isometric contractions are when you hold a muscular contraction such as flexing your biceps with no movement.

Isometric contraction are actually the best way to build and strengthen muscle!  There is a catch though.  An isometric contraction only strengthens the muscle at the angle which the joint is held at.  If you just hold it one angle the rest of the range of motion will not get stronger.

You must perform isometric contractions at all angles for your injured leg.  A way you can do it, is sitting on the couch cross your good leg over your injured leg.  Flex your quadriceps while you apply resistance with your good leg.

Hold each angle for around 20-30 seconds and move to another angle.  If you start at 90 degrees and work your way up, your quadriceps will be burning because you're working it to exhaustion.  Do this every other day until you build enough strength to do other exercises.

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