T Nation

Injury Related Training

A few years ago i had a severe injury to my ankle. I’ll try and explain it best i can…i was toboganning and hit a cement barrier (like the big ones in parking lots) anyway…my ankle shattered. The talis(?) turned 90 degrees and some smaller bones had broke away and i had a lot of bone fragments in my foot. I now have a screw, 3 pins, and a plate holding my ankle together. I’ve already had 2 pins and a wire removed (i kept them as souvenirs!). The doc said if i was middle-age, i probably wouldn’t be walking again (i was 17 when it happened). I’m sorry i can’t be more clear, as i don’t know the med jargon.

I have extremely limited flexibility and it often gets stiff and sore. It’s hard for me to train legs hard, as my ankle can’t handle the weight my thighs can.

To do squats, i put a 10lb. plate under my heel so i can actually bend far enough. Does anyone know how going up on my toes affects the area of the quad that gets worked? Also, who else has injuries and do you have any good tips to help with joint recovery after a workout?

P.S. thanks for replying to my last post. I’ll try 4-AD when i go back to school and i’ll let you know how i do.

By placing a plate below your heels while performing squats you are putting more stress around the knee area. Try pressing down on the ball of your foot, you’ll see what I mean. Now, press down with the heel - see the difference? You should try this way of performing the squat with just a bar.

I myself, have never had a injury (knock, knock on wood), therefore I haven't had to work through one. However, a good one to do is the Leg Extension - I wonder, will ANY of the posterior chain exercises aggravate your ankle? That's probably what I should ask.

Hey bro, I broke my ankle in the ring and have 3 pins and 2 beautiful scars to show for it, so I feel for ya. To increase range of motion, I recommend finding chiropractor who practices ART to help breeak down scar tissue. In the weight room, you can do the following exercise: hook a loop/strap to the bottom pulley of a lat tower and insert your foot in it. Then flex your ankle in as many different directions as possible, through a full ROM, always increasing the weight when possible. Also, Patricia is right-ditch the plate under heel. Do your squats ass TO grass. Peace

well…i can’t ditch the plate under my feet because it’s the only way i can get my ass down at all. I do leg ext. but i try and balance it out with the upper quad. my main exercises are leg press, squat, and leg ext. my heels also lift up when the leg press comes down. I guess the biggest problem is the fact that it gets sore all the time. Does this happen to you sonny? I’m on my feet for 9 hours at work and the next day i look like the hunchback of notre dame 'cause i’m limping so bad. i don’t really have any remedies except to let it rest…

Hey bud,

I understand trying to work around an injury. One thing to consider and this isn’t said to discourage you, but sometimes we need to learn to adapt to certain limitations. I managed to land on my head to many times and ended up with spinal surgery. The net result I can’t do pull-ups because they cause compression in my cervical spine. So instead I do angled pull-downs. Sometimes you just have to swap out exercises you like for ones you can do.

I found that an effective tool for injury recovery is the Super-Slow protocol. Basically, use a less weight, use very strict form and move the weight very slowly. It allows you to get plenty of time under tension, if not maximal loading. This may allow you to do exercises you normally couldn’t.

Certainly as folks said, do what you can to increase flexibility, but work with what you have got. There is a whole slew of machines that exist in most gyms. If you spend time really trying out different things you will probably be able to find a way to work all the muscles in your legs without aggravating your ankle. You just might have to go light on squats.

Genovese: okay, here’s what we (Ko and I) are thinking is going on. You’re rushing your training. Rather than going heavy in the squat or leg press, stay with a weight that your ankle can bear - train for volume and form. Don’t push it.

Training with a plate under your heel is poor form. Why practice poor form - even in your current condition? Someday you will need to perform the squat in correct form, train now for "good habits" rather than develop "bad habits" - which could potentially cause more injuries (and more setbacks).

I hurt my knee about 1 and 1/2 ago, and when I went back to training my legs were still plenty strong. I could have easily squated 225 for 10 reps, but guess what, my knee was not ready for it. So I had to swallow my pride and stick to 135 and work on my form, take it slow and eay so as not to aggravate my knee (meanwhile patricia is squatting 225+ for reps). Take it easy, let your ankle heal. It will eventually get better, but if you push it you’ll be right back where you started, or worse.

12 years ago at the age of 30, I was thrown off the stage at a rock concert(9ft. drop). I landed on my feet and crushed both heel bones, collapsed the arch in my left foot and broke the tibia in both legs. I had 2 surgeries and still have two large staples in my left heel. I couldn’t walk for 6 months, but I came back and the accident is what actually got me into bodybuilding. All I can say is stick with it. The best program that I have done that increased my flexiblility was Ian King’s Limping Program. Best of luck and just learn to live with a lot of pain.