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  • Writer's pictureDave the physio

Ankle Fracture Rehab - Part 3

When can we return to exercise after a fracture?

As previously mentioned in Part 1 of our Ankle Fracture series, it is important that we determine what type of ankle fracture has occurred so we can program our rehab appropriately.

Our ankle fracture will vastly vary in its management due to the location and type of fracture. For a stable fracture in which you have been given permission to weight bear inside a CAM boot, you can and should immediately begin to apply load and weight through the leg if possible. Although the fracture may still be present, the fibula only takes between 7-15% of the weight bearing load with the tibia being the main weight bearing bone.

By exercising and introducing early weight bearing and load management, we can speed the process of osteogenesis. Bone is laid down where it is needed by osteoblasts and removed by osteoclasts, depending on the stresses that are placed on the bone during every day and sports activities. At the bone remodelling stage of fracture healing a progression of weight bearing exercise is encouraged because it leads to an increase in bone strength.

A research study on fracture healing in rats showed that " At the 14th day of treatment, weight-bearing exercise, assessed by radiography, was found to be beneficial for bone healing. Results at the 21st day of treatment further supported the benefits of non-weight-bearing exercises, showing that weight-bearing exercise may improve bone repair in rats."

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