Coping with the effects of a broken leg can be overwhelming, affecting your ability to walk, climb steps and participate in exercise and recreational activities. Completing appropriate exercises at each phase of your recovery process encourages healing and reduces the long term impact of your fracture. Review all exercises with your doctor and therapist before beginning each new activity.
Prevent tightness by moving every joint that is not casted or splinted by bending and straightening it repeatedly. Wiggle your toes throughout the day to improve circulation, which rushes healing nutrients to the broken bone and speeds recovery. Elevate your leg while exercising it to further reduce edema. Stretch your tight joints gently once the cast has been removed. Wrap a towel around your foot, hold the ends of the towel and press against it for resistance while stretching your leg.
Initiate stretching by using an exercise band to gently introduce resistance and allow for pain-free exercise. Lie on your back and wrap the exercise band around the bottom of your foot and bend your hip, knee and foot toward your trunk. Extend your leg slowly, straightening each joint carefully. Stretch and exercise to the point of pain but no further. Keeping your knee, ankle and foot straight, sit on the floor and rotate your hip to each side so that the toes point to each side. Repeat each exercise 20 times each day.
Weight bearing provides stimulus to your body to regenerate the bone which has been damaged and enable you to restore balance. Furthermore, weight-bearing exercises trigger your stabilizing muscles, which are often weakened after a period of non-use. Start by standing on both legs and slowly swaying side to side and front to back. Stand on your healing broken leg and maintain your balance by holding onto a chair. As your balance improves, stand on your leg without holding onto the chair. Rehabilitate your balance further by standing on one leg with your eyes closed, keeping an assistant with you until you are able to safely stand for at least 30 seconds consistently.
When you are able to complete weight-bearing and strengthening exercises without pain, you can progress to aerobic exercises. Start with walking or using an elliptical trainer at a slow pace. If this is painful, initiate aerobics with seated bicycle exercise. Challenge yourself by participating in water aerobics, which are low impact. Indoor cycling is an intermediate exercise that provides both low-impact aerobic and high-impact resistance exercise. Slowly increase your intensity, attempting high-impact activities only when you are completely recovered.