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  1. #1
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    How long does it take to recover enough to ride a bike after breaking a leg (fibula)

    I broke my fibula about 4+ weeks ago. No surgery needed. they only put in into a half cast wrapped with ace bandage. My ankle is sprained as well. Apparently my fibula was broken more towards the middle so it was a rather stable break.

    About 2 1/2 weeks ago I moved to a walking boot but I am not walking. its just much more convenient and has straightened my foot back out. When I first had my accident (fell in kitchen), the foot was badly swollen and twisted sideways. Ever since I got the walking boot/cast on, it has straightened back out and is MUCH less painful. The majority of the pain I currently have is mainly due to my ankle, not my broken bone. I can stand on it and walk if I'm very gentle but I don't want to damage anything so I'm sticking with a walker for now.

    My dr said that it generally takes 6 weeks to recover to the point where you don't need a cast. However how long does one need to recover after that before they can start riding a bike again? I really don't want to call the dr and make another appt and pay more money just to ask him how long it takes generally to recover after a broken fibula.

    I'm a big big clyde if that throws a monkey wrench into the whole equation.

    I'm just anxious to get back on the saddle. Sitting at home and rebuilding and fixing bikes can only go so far in my bike fix.

  2. #2
    Senior Member LVRider's Avatar
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    I broke my Tibia in a particularily nasty fall in 2000. I was in a cast for 9 weeks, 7 of which was on crutches. It took me about a month to get back on the bike. Physical therapy was what did it for me. It was a few months before I'd regained most of my flexibility. Twelve years later, (I'm now 38) the ankle still appears misshapen and has slightly limited range of motion, I'd say I have 90%+ of the motion I have in my other ankle. It does not present any problems for me at all on the bike. Ironically the one I didn't break is the one that hurts me sometimes. Good luck, follow doctor's orders, go to PT if you can and good luck to you. Keep us posted on your progress.
    Last edited by LVRider; 04-25-12 at 04:05 PM.
    "Life is like a bicycle. To keep your balance you have to keep it moving"- Albert Einstein

  3. #3
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    thanks for the info.

    After doing some research, it seems like that the Tibia is the bone that supports about 90 percent of the body weight whereas the Fibula only supports about 10 percent. I hope that is in my favor.

    At this point, I'm more worried about my ankle and doing any damage to it.

    I wish I could afford PT. Sucks being a temp employee in this bad economy but at least I have a job for now.

  4. #4
    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    Once the bone is healed enough to bear weight, you can cycle on it. Cycling is low impact compared to walking. I might do a lot of flat, low gear spinning at first, and I would definitely avoid big climbs or sprinting for a bit. If you can't afford PT you might wanna figure out an exercise program that will help get back the strength you lost. Cycling could be an important piece of that puzzle. Remember that I'm not a Dr, but I've been cycling, skiing, racing motorcycles etc for long enough that I have a fair bit of experience with rehab.

  5. #5
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    i haven't broken any leg bones recently, but i did sprain my ankle pretty badly a couple of months ago. lots of tendon damage as evidenced by the the massive amount of bruising, etc. i was back on the bike in a few days, but walking was a little dicey for a week or two. still after two months or so i can feel that it is weak and, boy oh boy, would it be easy to twist it again, so i'm pretty careful with it.

  6. #6
    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hueyhoolihan View Post
    i haven't broken any leg bones recently, but i did sprain my ankle pretty badly a couple of months ago. lots of tendon damage as evidenced by the the massive amount of bruising, etc. i was back on the bike in a few days, but walking was a little dicey for a week or two. still after two months or so i can feel that it is weak and, boy oh boy, would it be easy to twist it again, so i'm pretty careful with it.
    Believe it or not sprains are often longer and trickier to heal than breaks...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebel1916 View Post
    Once the bone is healed enough to bear weight, you can cycle on it. Cycling is low impact compared to walking. I might do a lot of flat, low gear spinning at first, and I would definitely avoid big climbs or sprinting for a bit. If you can't afford PT you might wanna figure out an exercise program that will help get back the strength you lost. Cycling could be an important piece of that puzzle. Remember that I'm not a Dr, but I've been cycling, skiing, racing motorcycles etc for long enough that I have a fair bit of experience with rehab.
    That is exactly why I want to get back into riding. I want to cycle on my foot to build it back up. We have tons of flat areas around here that I can ride on even if its just to do the 3 mile circle in my neighborhood.

    i was just worrying that riding would cause damage to the healing bones.

  8. #8
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobotech View Post
    I broke my fibula about 4+ weeks ago. No surgery needed. they only put in into a half cast wrapped with ace bandage. My ankle is sprained as well. Apparently my fibula was broken more towards the middle so it was a rather stable break.

    About 2 1/2 weeks ago I moved to a walking boot but I am not walking. its just much more convenient and has straightened my foot back out. When I first had my accident (fell in kitchen), the foot was badly swollen and twisted sideways. Ever since I got the walking boot/cast on, it has straightened back out and is MUCH less painful. The majority of the pain I currently have is mainly due to my ankle, not my broken bone. I can stand on it and walk if I'm very gentle but I don't want to damage anything so I'm sticking with a walker for now.

    My dr said that it generally takes 6 weeks to recover to the point where you don't need a cast. However how long does one need to recover after that before they can start riding a bike again? I really don't want to call the dr and make another appt and pay more money just to ask him how long it takes generally to recover after a broken fibula.

    I'm a big big clyde if that throws a monkey wrench into the whole equation.

    I'm just anxious to get back on the saddle. Sitting at home and rebuilding and fixing bikes can only go so far in my bike fix.
    I've broken my fibula twice which resulted in surgery both times. The first time a plate was installed (along with a screw to hold the end of the tibia which I also broke on). The second time was about 25 years later when the fibula stress fractured around the plate. The first time I was on a bike within two weeks of the cast coming off. The second time, I was on a bike the day the cast came off.

    Bicycling...especially road riding...is a low weight bearing sport. That's why I got into cycling instead of running in the first place. I couldn't run on the leg (still can't) after the first surgery and bicycling was a good alternative. Check with your doctor but I don't he'll object.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member cocar's Avatar
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    *Disclaimer* I'm a veterinary orthopod, not an MD. Please do whatever your doc says.

    But in general terms, if you break your fibula, but not your tibia (which is the weight bearing bone), the tibia acts as an internal splint, and the fibula will usually heal up without too much trouble. It takes about 4-6 weeks.

    Your ankle is going to be the rate limiting factor in your recovery. It would probably greatly help if you could get some of those resistance bands and start strengthening your ankle at home. I'm sure you can google/youtube the exercises.

    Good luck! done the rehab thing WAY too many times than I care to recall...

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