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Don't shirk stretching for a fractured calf.

I broke my fibula three months ago, and was wondering what I may need to know as I slowly return to running. I am 60 years old and have been running for about two decades.

Gordy Scoseria

Mt. Desert Island, ME

After a trauma such as a break, the time you spend immobilized helps the bone heal, but weakens the ligaments and tendons. The break may be fully healed but it will take some time for the tendons and ligaments to regain their elasticity and strength. I'm assuming your injury has fully healed and your doctor has advised you to begin exercising again.

To increase both range of motion and lateral stability of your ankle, trace the alphabet in the air with your foot. Try both upper case and lower case letters. After several weeks, gradually work the turns back into your workouts.

Establish pain-free walking, before adding running intervals. Gradually increase the time spent running and decrease the walk breaks. Once you are able to run continuously, begin your progression gradually by choosing to increase the intensity or volume of your workouts, not both. Also, do 95% of your training on a smooth, level surface (like a track or a treadmill), running only on the straightaways. Lateral stability is the last to recover, so taking the turns should wait.

Give ample attention to stretching, especially the lower legs. Tightness in those muscles and tendons can put added stress on the bone. Always include rest and recovery between workouts to avoid overuse injury as you return to your previous level of running. Make use of crosstraining modalities like cycling and swimming to help strengthen muscles without leading to re-injury or new overuse injuries. Deep water workouts can also help you maintain fitness and strength without impact.

DISCLAIMER: The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. Clinic pieces are edited and details are changed. In some cases pieces represent composites from several queries to, and answers from, the Clinic Advisory Board.

The American Running Association (ARA) and its Clinic Advisory Board disclaims responsibility and shall have no liability for any consequences suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site. ARA does not endorse specifically any test, treatment, or procedure mentioned on this site.

Tymon, Greg, MS

Stroudsburg East, PA

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Title Annotation:THE CLINIC
Author:Tymon, Greg
Publication:Running & FitNews
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2014
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