T Nation

Squatting and Deadlifting Comeback


#1

Hello all. To make a long story short, I broke my fibula and tore up my ankle pretty good. The doctors put a metal pin through my ankle and six weeks later, I'm finally getting it out next Monday.

So, my question to you all, would it be a good idea to squat and deadlift the week after I get the pin taken out? Would box squatting be my best bet?

The ortho said I would be able to walk on it and put full pressure on it about a week after the pin is removed. Then, after the surgery, I start PT to get the strength back.

Another problem is my shrunken leg. My lower leg is tiny compared to my quad and ham. I've heard that this can cause an imbalance in the erectors and all the way up to the traps. What can I do to avoid this as much as possible?

The last problem I have is my dynamic warm ups. I really like box jumps but I don't think that I would be able to do much jumping until my ankle is a lot stronger. If anybody has any ideas as to what I could do, feel free to chime in. Thanks in advance.

CS


#2

I wouldn't do more than squat or deadlift with perhaps the bar for about a week or two after. Hit the single leg stuff up good. That ankle is gonna be real unstable. I broke my fibula two years ago but mine was a spiral fracture that took 8 weeks to heal up right (no pin). It was a tough comeback. All of those little muscles that stabilize your ankle and knee and even hips will have atrophied and lost a lot of strength.

Work back into it slowly. The problem with starting bilateral stuff up right after is that you will more than likely develop more imbalance even up to your spine and core because your weight will be shifted to the uninvolved side. You can hammer the motor pattern with the bar but definitely have a mirror to try to keep your butt in the middle of your legs.

Its a long road back and since I didn't do PT I still have tightness in my ankle (working on it now that I'm in PT school but still 8 weeks off really messes you up more than you know). It took about a year or more before my butt would go down in the middle on my squat (with my heavier sets). Take it easy and work hard with PT and hammer a good bit of single leg stuff (single leg deadlift, single leg squats on to a bench) and focus on keeping your knee straight and the positioning of your ankle all the way up to your core). The worse thing about an ankle is it affects everything upstream.


#3

Thanks for the advice. Would some light band work be a good idea? If I do unilateral work, would it be best to hit the weak leg first, and harder than the stronger one?

CS


#4

I was outta squatting for 6 weeks a few months back myself. For me, the best thing that helped prevent imbalances and pain in me was box squatting. Starting high and working on flexibility and stability as I lowered the box. The box allows you to really focus on getting down square between your legs. As far as instability, I think just slowly doing more walking day by day will help a lot.

As far as unilateral work I would advocate hitting the weak one going as hard as feels safe without pain. Then do the same with the strong leg. Obviously this will be very easy on the strong leg. Maybe add a bit extra on the strong leg, but I bet your bad leg will catch very very fast. Definitely talk to a PT and follow their advice with an open mind but they are often excessively conservative. There are lots of great band exercises you can do with ankles and lower leg that will help them get back up to strength quickly. best of luck!


#5

Thanks. I thought that box squatting would be my best bet because I would hit the box and be equally distributed on the box, hitting both of my legs equally, possible the weak one a little more.

CS


#6

Yeah that is true. Box squatting while really paying attention to your core positioning and your butt on the box will help. I would still do a week or 2 of single leg stuff before box squatting though nonetheless. You're cleared for FWB but when you squat you add even more weight onto your ankle. I don't think it would cause any big problems but just be careful and I think you would be best suited to stick to single leg stuff for 2 weeks. Do ankle band strengthening and mobilizations nearly everyday and then single leg work at every other day. Go as hard as possible on both legs. When your uninvolved leg increases in strength it will also increase your involved leg. It increases the neuromuscular coordination in the opposite leg even when its not worked. Definitely focus on your ankle positioning, knee positioning, hip positioning and core positioning all of the way up when box squatting


#7

I had to get my left ankle scoped and a bone drilled out in order to get blood into a damged area (I forget what the condition was called, but it was totally fucked). I was non weight bearing for about 4 months. The day I was cleared for weight bearing, I started using a band to stretch the shit out of my ankle did good mornings with a light band under my feet and around my neck for as long as I could stand. That really helped my mobility.

Squats will be awkward as hell because your ROM in your ankle is going to be about zero. I would worry about getting that back to normal before you start putting weight on your back.

Also, do as much of this as you can stand:

I know a bunch of guys that have had pins and plates put in their ankles and it still gives them problems years later because they didn't do the stupid little stretches they needed to do as soon as they could after the surgery.