/ So I have broken my leg.

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Imedio - on 07 Mar 2019

So unfortunately during a session at the climbing wall, I took a normal fall, bouldering and have broken my leg. I wasn’t very high, moving very fast, and landed on the mat, just an unfortunate accident. With that said after my surgery I have 8 weeks in a cast.

I have been climbing for about 18 months and climb at around V6 boulder and 7a sports and climb 4/5 times a week (or did ahah).

After my surgery I want to come up with a plan to keep active and train climbing while I’m immobile and obviously unable to actually climb. So, this post is in search of some advice and ideas. 

Any help would be welcome. Thank you! 

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Flinticus - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Imedio:

I broke an ankle. While off I used to go on my crutches to a local playground on do pull ups on some bars.

Also walking fast on crutches is exercise in itself.

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alx on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Imedio:

As much as you may not like it, put your wall membership on hold and sign up to a standard gym and buy a small portable finger board like the problem solver hanzo. Lift weights, do core workouts split with hanging off the board at the gym.

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Dave Cundy - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Imedio:

Use a theraband, or similar, to strengthen the muscles in your shoulders.

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Paul Sagar - on 07 Mar 2019

“I have been climbing for about 18 months and climb at around V6 boulder and 7a sport”

please don’t do any training at all. Being able to climb 7a after a year and a half makes those of us who had to take more than twice as long and with a hell of a lot of effort feel really bad. 

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joeldering on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Imedio:

Keep up the climbing wall membership, itll be good motivation to see people.

Fingerboarding, foot on campusing, pull ups, dips, ring training

When you're getting back to climbing top roping could be a good option for trying harder moves in a leg safe manner

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planetmarshall on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Imedio:

I broke my leg about eight weeks ago. A multifracture of the tibia that required internal fixation. I didn't have a cast, but for at least the first few weeks I was horizontal for most of the day as it was painful to be upright for even short lengths of time.

I resumed exercise about four weeks ago. Upper body only. Core, rings, pull-ups, pressups and max hangs on the Beastmaker.

You will probably sleep more than usual - I could easily sleep for 12 hours a day for the first few weeks. Your calorie requirements could be triple what you normally consume.

Good luck.

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Misha - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Imedio:

Watch E11 for some inspiration - Dave does his ankle in but carries on fingerboarding at home.  

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slab_happy on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Imedio:

Speaking from experience (smashed up my foot several years back), it helps to make a list of all the stuff you can do.

Fingerboard (be careful not to push it too much when you've only been climbing for 18 months, but you can do a lot more when you're not also climbing), pull-ups.

Anything that can be done seated or lying down: this is a great time to do all the antagonist stuff you may have been neglecting, as well as all the fiddly boring shoulder prehab stuff with resistance bands or tiny weights.

You can also do rows, reverse flyes, and other stuff that'll build up useful strength for climbing. Eva Lopez has a good post:

http://en-eva-lopez.blogspot.com/2012/04/specific-weight-exercises-for-climbers.html

Lots of stretching -- there's a tonne of yoga you can do sitting or lying on the floor,  it's just a question of logistics manoeuvring with a cast on! Plenty of hips/hamstrings and shoulder stretches are do-able.

Also, if you're a geek like me, I recommend watching a load of classic climbing films while stretching. It helps mitigate the cold turkey. *g*

I sent round e-mails to my climber friends and invited them all to come and eat pizza and watching climbing movies with me while I was out of action, to help keep me from going stir-crazy (and losing touch with everyone). It helped a lot!

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Rigid Raider - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Imedio:

Put aside your pride and recognise that you need to give the bone time to heal. Take zinc and vitamin C and not ibuprofen because the jury is still out on whether it hinders the body's natural healing process. Paracetamol is your friend, take 1 gm every 5 hours and keep a log so that you don't let the level drop. Muscle disappears very fast indeed when you stop using it so continue with upper body exercises. Do some reading, listen to Radio 4 and relax. 

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MischaHY - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Imedio:

Definitely try to take this as an opportunity to work on fingerboarding and muscle conditioning, alongside making sure your diet is up to scratch. 

Contrary to what some think, you can actually build a huge amount of fitness exclusively on a fingerboard using varying repeater protocols. Check out the Crimpd app, especially the exercises 7:3 40%/50%/80%. You could also experiment varying grip type to simulate climbing better. 

Regular pull ups in higher volume for power endurance, weighted pull ups at low reps (2-3) for strength recruitment and hypertrophy. 

It might sound like a weird way to look at it but combined with the drop of muscle mass in the leg you can actually come back to climbing brutally strong because you'll be lighter and will have done a huge amount of disciplined strength/endurance work. 

Make it a win for you! If you want further psyche/support it's worth asking in the Lattice group on Facebook: 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1915164308496552/ 

Best of luck mate!

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tobyk - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Imedio:

I took a 7m groundfall 9 years ago and ended up with my leg in a pot for 2 months. This was severe ligament damage rather than a bone break, but I still had the same frustration. I ended up going down the wall anyway (university unmanned wall), climbing on steep easy stuff mostly, and the little shoe you get given was remarkably good for edging! As I was crutching everywhere my upper body strength remained good, the shock when the pot comes off though...looked like my leg belonged to Barbie.

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NorthernGrit - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Imedio:

Always worth a repost

https://www.vimeo.com/42893621

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slab_happy on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to NorthernGrit:

I knew what that'd be before I clicked the link, and yes, it always is! Good call!

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Michael Hood - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to NorthernGrit:

Hadn't seen that before. What a great training facility.

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planetmarshall on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to MischaHY:

> Contrary to what some think, you can actually build a huge amount of fitness exclusively on a fingerboard using varying repeater protocols. Check out the Crimpd app, especially the exercises 7:3 40%/50%/80%.

Yes I've been doing those. Tedious as hell but I guess the idea is to mimic the load on the forearms during a normal climbing session 

> Regular pull ups in higher volume for power endurance, weighted pull ups at low reps (2-3) for strength recruitment and hypertrophy. 

Just bear in mind that the metabolic demands on the body while repairing broken bone are already enormous (think 6000 cal per day). If you want to build muscle mass in addition to that you'll need to be eating like Michael Phelps.

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MischaHY - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to planetmarshall:

> If you want to build muscle mass in addition to that you'll need to be eating like Michael Phelps.

Sounds like fun ;-) 

Definitely not something I've experienced directly so only second-hand advice for sure. I suppose at minimum you can look at very viable recruitment benefits though. 

Good effort, keep at it! Hope you heal up soon. 

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Toby_W on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Imedio:

https://www.ukclimbing.com/photos/dbpage.php?id=2263

Do your physio, do your physio, do your physio!

I got very bored, on one doctors appointment though he said it was looking good but the leg was a bit swollen and was I keeping my leg up.  I said I was crutching to work, how far, 2 miles each way.  No no no he said.  The plus side was I'd gone from having a chest like a toast rack with a wet paper bag over it to having pecs like the terminator, it was awesome!

Seriously though, do your physio like it was training for an important competition or race or you may never get your full mobility back.  I was amazed as I walked back in for my last appointment to see others I had started with still struggling along because they had not been listening to their doctors and physio and focusing on their recovery.

Good luck

Toby

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The Marmot - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Toby_W:

> Do your physio, do your physio, do your physio!

> I got very bored, on one doctors appointment though he said it was looking good but the leg was a bit swollen and was I keeping my leg up.  I said I was crutching to work, how far, 2 miles each way.  No no no he said.  The plus side was I'd gone from having a chest like a toast rack with a wet paper bag over it to having pecs like the terminator, it was awesome!

> Seriously though, do your physio like it was training for an important competition or race or you may never get your full mobility back.  I was amazed as I walked back in for my last appointment to see others I had started with still struggling along because they had not been listening to their doctors and physio and focusing on their recovery.

> Good luck

> Toby

THIS - I didn't do enough physio following a broken kneecap and I'm paying the price. When the cast comes off go swimming. Great to loosen up stiff joints in a supported environment and some good exercise too.

Best wishes for your recovery 

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planetmarshall on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Imedio:

8 weeks since surgery and I went back to the wall for the first time today. Stuck to toproping and couldn't climb for long, but it actually wasn't bad - and the foot movement is very similar to the calf raises I've been given by the physio.

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jezzah - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Imedio:

Get hold of Andy Kirkpatricks 1001 climbing tips book- work your way through them

Get a copy of Nigel Shepherd's complete guide to rope techniques and come out of your enforced absence from the climbing wall as a rope zen god with a huge amount of background knowledge in the sport... then start planning your next outside trips in this country or further afield!

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teh_mark on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Imedio:

I broke my leg last February - surgery and metallic bits but no cast, which was a bonus as it meant I could keep my ankle mobile. For the first while I'd echo the advice above about taking some time off to chill instead of pushing on with training. Walking around with crutches often feels like training enough!

I'd also repeat the advice about doing the physio. There aren't any shortcuts, and you'll find that the broken bone is the least of the problems long-term. More important will be regaining the mobility in your ankle and knee that you'll have lost through weeks of not using them. I was a bit lax with the physio and my ankle is still stiff now, 13 months later. It's not a huge problem and I haven't really lost any range of motion, but it could have been avoided entirely with a bit more effort.

In terms of timescales I broke it mid-February, had seven weeks of no weight bearing, a month of partial weight bearing, and then gradually eased my way back into walking normally without crutches. I was a bit more ambitious than the advice given by the NHS consultant I was seeing, but I feel I know my body and my limits quite well and knew when to calm down and stop pushing. I was in the Alps with axe and crampons by mid June, rock climbing from the beginning of July, and walked the West Highland Way at the beginning of August. I was back playing ice hockey by the end of August - I left that the longest due to the weird stresses it places on your leg and the high impact nature of the game!

Post edited at 12:07
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