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Broke my ankle; when back to climbing?
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hannahpannah


May 21, 2014, 1:18 PM
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Broke my ankle; when back to climbing?
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Hi guys,
I broke my ankle 7 weeks ago during a lead climbing fall (fibula fracture). I've been in a cast for 6 weeks (2 weeks non weight bearing) and just got my cast off one week ago. I can walk fairly okay on it :) Exercise (swimming & cycling) is going fine, though I can't swim as fast and as long as before. Anyone gone through something similar and has an idea when I can start climbing again (easy topropes and that kind of stuff)? I miss it like crazy!


onceahardman


May 21, 2014, 4:06 PM
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Re: [hannahpannah] Broke my ankle; when back to climbing? [In reply to]
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hannahpannah wrote:
Hi guys,
I broke my ankle 7 weeks ago during a lead climbing fall (fibula fracture). I've been in a cast for 6 weeks (2 weeks non weight bearing) and just got my cast off one week ago. I can walk fairly okay on it :) Exercise (swimming & cycling) is going fine, though I can't swim as fast and as long as before. Anyone gone through something similar and has an idea when I can start climbing again (easy topropes and that kind of stuff)? I miss it like crazy!

Ask the guy (or woman) who put the cast on and took it off, hopefully an orthopedic surgeon, or sports medicine MD or DO. That person is really in the best position to assess your potential return to sport.


jws3


May 22, 2014, 4:34 AM
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Re: [hannahpannah] Broke my ankle; when back to climbing? [In reply to]
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Weight bearing after two weeks seems really fast. I broke my lateral malleolus (part of the fibula) and I was non-weight bearing for six weeks. I started slacklining after about 10 weeks. Bone density is stimulated by loading, so they'll be a little fragile after some NWB time even apart from the fracture.


(This post was edited by jws3 on May 22, 2014, 4:35 AM)


hannahpannah


May 22, 2014, 5:50 AM
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Re: [jws3] Broke my ankle; when back to climbing? [In reply to]
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jws3 wrote:
Weight bearing after two weeks seems really fast. I broke my lateral malleolus (part of the fibula) and I was non-weight bearing for six weeks. I started slacklining after about 10 weeks. Bone density is stimulated by loading, so they'll be a little fragile after some NWB time even apart from the fracture.

Six weeks non-weight bearing is a long time! I asked my doctor when I could start climbing againd and she said I should wait like 1,5/2 months. But she didn't know much about climbing and gave me that advice because I could 'make a big fall like the one your broke your ankle with'. (So I guess she thought I was talking about doing 'dangerous' stuff, but, the risks are much smaller with toproping easy stuff so I was wondering if I can already start this or next week...) Like physically I can 'climb' stairs just fine, so I was hoping that I can start climbing again soon...


lena_chita
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May 22, 2014, 11:16 AM
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Re: [hannahpannah] Broke my ankle; when back to climbing? [In reply to]
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hannahpannah wrote:
Hi guys,
I broke my ankle 7 weeks ago during a lead climbing fall (fibula fracture). I've been in a cast for 6 weeks (2 weeks non weight bearing) and just got my cast off one week ago. I can walk fairly okay on it :) Exercise (swimming & cycling) is going fine, though I can't swim as fast and as long as before. Anyone gone through something similar and has an idea when I can start climbing again (easy topropes and that kind of stuff)? I miss it like crazy!

Find a PT and do the ankle-strengthening exercises.

I see no reason why you couldn't toprope easy climbs, if you are out of the cast and have no restriction on weight-bearing activities. But your ankle is now much weaker, due to being in a cast for 6 weeks, so you are more likely to hurt it now by rolling or twisting it, so be extra-careful and extra-mindful of your foot placement, even on TR.

I would say, go through PT evaluation, and you will see how much weaker it is, and in what specific ways you can strengthen it and regain balance. Once you can do roughly the same number of (insert ankle strengthening exercise) on your injured side, as you can on your non-injured side, you are probably safe to return to lead climbing and bouldering.


hannahpannah


Jun 13, 2014, 8:54 AM
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Re: [lena_chita] Broke my ankle; when back to climbing? [In reply to]
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Thanks guys for your replies!

In the end I decided to wait a little longer with climbing; I've done a lot of ankle strenghtening exercises over the past weeks, and I started yesterday (4,5 week after cast removal) with climbing again. So happy :) :) My ankle was just doing fine! But my strength and endurance had gone, I was struggling with routes that would be normally my easy warm-ups haha.
Will not be leading till I can hop on my injured leg though I guess.


(This post was edited by hannahpannah on Jun 13, 2014, 8:55 AM)


onceahardman


Jun 16, 2014, 4:15 AM
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Re: [hannahpannah] Broke my ankle; when back to climbing? [In reply to]
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hannahpannah wrote:
Thanks guys for your replies!

In the end I decided to wait a little longer with climbing; I've done a lot of ankle strenghtening exercises over the past weeks, and I started yesterday (4,5 week after cast removal) with climbing again. So happy :) :) My ankle was just doing fine! But my strength and endurance had gone, I was struggling with routes that would be normally my easy warm-ups haha.
Will not be leading till I can hop on my injured leg though I guess.

I'm glad you are back at it! Sorry about my kind-of terse response above, but there are several different types of fibula fractures, and some of them can severely (or even permanently) affect the stability of the ankle mortise. The casting physician really would be in the best position to assess this.

Being able to hop on it is a pretty good indicator of being ready for return to sport. Congrats!


DemolitionRed


Jun 18, 2014, 9:34 AM
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Re: [hannahpannah] Broke my ankle; when back to climbing? [In reply to]
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I had a simple break of the tibia in my left leg a few years ago and like yourself, it was a climbing accident. I was eager to be back on the rock as soon as I was out of plaster but lived to regret it. I had trouble for well over a year because although my mind was ready to climb, my leg wasn't.

I would advise anyone who takes a break anywhere on the leg... including the ankle, to take six months out to fully recover.

Two years on I'm at last getting no more pain when I climb. I could of halved that time by letting my bones recover properly.


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