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If you’ve recently suffered from a tibial plateau fracture, you may be looking for some suitable recovery exercises which you can do at home.
If so, you’ve landed on the right page.
In this article, we’ll discover some tibia fracture recovery exercises for your injured leg that can help with the recovery process.
What Is A Fracture Of The Tibia?
A tibia fracture is essentially a broken bone that affects the tibia.
It usually happens when a significant traumatic injury, such as a direct blow, occurs during things like contact sports or a motor vehicle accident.
There are two long bones that connect your knee joint and ankle joint: the tibia (your shin bone) and the fibula.
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These bones run parallel to each other with the tibia being the larger bone.
Because of this, a tibia fracture tends to be more common than a fibula fracture.
Fractures or injuries to the tibia can potentially affect the stability and range of motion of your ankle joint, which is why proper diagnosis and treatment of the fracture site is important to ensure optimal healing and function of the affected leg.
Tibia Fracture Recovery Exercises
The suggestions below are for demonstration purposes only.
It’s important to follow your healthcare provider or physical therapist’s treatment plan before undertaking any of the exercises.
This is because the timing and type of exercise can vary depending on the severity of your stress fracture and what stage you’re at during the healing process.
Below we recommended some non-weight bearing tibia fracture recovery exercises which are great for a fractured tibia.
Toe curls can be a beneficial part of the rehabilitation process after a tibia fracture, especially as you regain strength and mobility in your ankle and lower leg.
They can help to improve circulation, maintain some muscle tone, and provide gentle movement to the ankle and foot.
How To Do Toe Curls:
- From a standing or seated position raise the front foot of your affected leg so you’re just resting on the heel.
- Slowly curl your toes inwards as though forming a fist with your foot.
- Hold this position for 5 seconds.
- Then open the toes out and pull them back. Again, hold for 5 seconds.
- Perform between 5 to 8 repetitions.
Ankle circles can be a useful exercise to help improve ankle mobility and flexibility during the rehabilitation process after a tibia fracture.
During this movement, it’s important to only move the ankle joint and keep your knee still.
How To Do Ankle Circles:
- Start from a seated position with both feet flat on the floor and your knees bent to 90 degrees.
- Keep your good leg in place and raise the foot of the injured leg away from the floor by bending your knee.
- Point your toes down and from here rotate your ankle in a clockwise direction making as large a circle as possible.
- Complete 5 reps clockwise and then 5 counterclockwise.
Heel slides are a gentle movement that can help to improve flexibility and range of motion to your ankle and knee joints.
They also engage your quads and hamstrings helping to prevent muscle atrophy.
How To Do Heel Slides:
- Lie down on an exercise mat with your legs stretched out and arms down by your sides.
- Raise the toes of the injured leg but keep your heel on the ground.
- Slide your heel towards your glutes going as far as you find comfortable.
- Return the foot back to the starting position and repeat for 10 repetitions.
Now that we’ve covered the non-weight bearing exercises, let’s look at a couple of effective weight-bearing exercises using just your body weight.
Keep in mind, that these should be avoided in the most severe cases and performed only under guidance.
Assisted Calf Raise
As the name suggest, this exercise will primarily work your calf muscles.
The strength of these muscles can directly impact the stability of your tibia and surrounding leg muscles.
As you progress you can perform this exercise off a step which will help to increase your range of motion.
How To Do The Assisted Calf Raise:
- Face a wall and place your hands against it for support.
- Keep your feet shoulder width apart with toes pointing out slightly.
- Slowly raise up onto the balls of your feet and then return to the start.
- Perform 10 to 15 reps.
Shin raises can be useful for rehabilitating a tibia fracture and improving lower leg muscle strength.
They target the tibialis anterior muscle, which runs along the front of your shin and helps with dorsiflexion (lifting the toes upward) and stabilizing the ankle.
How To Do Shin Raises:
- Stand with your back against a wall and allow your hips to rest against it (your back should not)
- Extend both feet out just in front of you. The further out you place your feet the more challenging the movement.
- Keeping your knees straight, raise the front of your feet up towards the ceiling.
- Perform 10 repetitions.
Lateral Band Walk
The lateral band walk is a great way of progressing into normal activities, such as walking, you’re also working to help rebalance your hips.
You’ll need a resistance band for this exercise.
How To Do The Lateral Band Walk:
- Start by placing a resistance band around the tops of both feet.
- Keep your feet pointing forwards.
- Take small steps to the side bending slightly through your knees and hips.
- Push off with the planted foot and reach out with your stepping foot.
- Take a couple of steps in one direction and side step back in the opposite direction.
What Should You Avoid After A Bone Fracture?
After a bone fracture it’s important to avoid the following and always follow instructions supplied by your doctor.
Weight-Bearing Or Activity
Avoid putting weight on the injured limb or taking part in strenuous activities until you receive the all clear from your healthcare provider.
This may include avoiding walking, running, or any activities that could stress the fractured bone.
Ignoring Pain Or Swelling
Pain, significant swelling, or increased discomfort around the fracture site could be signs of complications or inadequate healing.
Don’t ignore these symptoms; report them to your doctor straight away.
Removing Casts Or Splints
Do not attempt removal of the cast or splints by yourself.
These are essential for immobilizing and protecting the fractured bone.
If they become damaged or uncomfortable, speak to your doctor for proper adjustments or replacements.
Prematurely Resuming Physical Activity
Even after your cast or splint is removed, it’s important not to rush into physical activities too soon.
Gradually reintroduce movement and initial exercises under the guidance of your physical therapist.
The road to tibia fracture recovery involves patience, dedication, and a well-structured rehab plan.
Through a combination of weight-bearing exercises, range of motion activities, and gradual progression, you can regain the strength and mobility to your injured leg.
We can’t stress enough the importance of following the guidance of your physio or doctor and always listen to your body throughout the recovery process.
Remember that recovery time varies from person to person and progress may take time.
Ultimately, the goal is not just to heal fractured bones, but to restore the full function and quality of life that you deserve.