T Nation

Train My Other Leg While I Have a Broken Leg?



I fractured my talus 2 months ago while rock climbing (well 'rock falling' is more like it, don't fall before you get your first piece in lol). I just got out of a cast and into a boot, but it's looking like another 2-3 weeks till I can bear full weight on the ankle. As of right now I can sort of walk with the boot and crutches, maybe 30-50% of weight on the ankle.

I've just started going back to the gym 2 weeks ago, working almost entirely on machines since I can't grab weights and crutches at the same time (lots of dips, pull ups, and push ups too). However, I haven't been working my good leg.

My question is, should I be training one leg and not the other for the next 2-3 months? My orthopedic surgeon thinks I should be good to go on sports starting slowly in December but I won't know for sure till I can start PT. However, I might need another operation, meaning more time off.

Here is the problem, my good leg already looks much larger than my broken one, which has noticeably shrunken; I mean by a pretty weird looking order of magnitude.

Could further stimulating such an imbalance by training my one good leg while my other continues to atrophy make it harder for me when I start working on the broken leg down the road?

Will it create an imbalance that might promote more injury (I can see how having a much weaker leg with a weak joint could cause problems in dual leg movements)?

Also, I feel I should point this out: I've been training for 5-6 years, but I've been focused much more other sports namely climbing, which has made me focus more on keeping lean than building maximum amounts of mass, so I'm still what would surely be considered a beginner around these parts in terms of development. IDK if that matters.

Thanks for any advice.


I actually read studies in college where the injured leg showed less atrophy if the non-injured leg was trained during the recovery period. It will take you a while to get the weaker leg back up to speed, but yes, there actually is some merit to working out the non-injured half of your body.


I have heard many examples of advanced trainees only using their working limb while the other one was healing. I think CT did that with one of his guys too at some point.


I wont hurt anything as long as you dont put yourself in a position where you could fall and reinjure you bad foot.