Ankle stiffness and weakness are common after fibula injury, particularly if you spent time in a cast or using crutches. Range of motion and broken fibula rehab exercises, as described by the Government of Alberta, can improve function after this injury.
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Broken bones not only cause pain, but can leave you with stiff joints and weak muscles. Your fibula is the smaller of two lower leg bones, running along the outside of your calf, as explained by Mayo Clinic. This bone is part of your ankle joint, and the end of it forms the large bump on the outside of your ankle.
Check with your doctor before exercising to ensure your fibula is fully healed. For individualized broken fibula rehab exercises, consult a physical therapist.
Read more: Rehab Exercises for a Broken Tibia or Fibula
1. Range of Motion
Range of motion exercises should be performed as part of your fibula fracture recovery exercises several times per day until you regain normal movement.
- Sit with your leg out straight and your foot unsupported to allow full movement.
- Draw the alphabet in the air, without lifting your leg off the surface it is resting on.
- Perform ankle circles both clockwise and counterclockwise, 10 times each.
2. Calf Stretch
Use a towel to assist you with calf stretches. As your flexibility improves, stretches can also be performed in a standing position.
- Sit with your leg straight out in front of you.
- Hold one end of the towel in each hand and loop it around the ball of your foot.
- Use the towel to pull your toes toward you while keeping your knee straight. You should feel a strong pulling sensation along the back of your calf, but no pain.
- Hold this position for 15 to 20 seconds and repeat three times.
3. Foot Strengthening
Muscles that move your toes can become weak after a fibula fracture, especially if you haven't walked on your injured leg for a period of time.
Move 1: Towel Slide Sideways
- Sit with your foot on the ground.
- Lay a small towel flat on the ground next to your foot. Keeping your heel planted on the ground, use the ball of your foot to slide the towel to the opposite side of your foot.
- Repeat in the opposite direction.
Move 2: Towel Curls
- Perform towel curls by placing the towel flat on the ground in front of you.
- Put your heel on the closest edge of the towel.
- Use your toes to pull the towel in toward your foot, without lifting your heel off the ground.
4. Calf Raises
Perform calf raises using stairs with a hand rail if you have concerns about your balance, as demonstrated by ExRx.net.
- Place the ball of your foot on the edge of a step.
- Lower your heel below the step; then rise up on your toes as high as possible.
- Repeat 10 times.
Make this exercise easier by performing calf raises with both feet at the same time.
5. Balance Training
Perform balance exercises near a wall or while holding onto another sturdy surface for safety.
- Stand only on your injured leg, working up to 30 seconds.
- Progress this exercise by performing it with your eyes closed. You can also vary the surface you are standing on — such as standing on a cushion — as your balance improves.