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After the Cast: Rehab and Conditioning a Broken Foot

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

Real life is never quite as neat and tidy as the movies. In movies, when a character is training or trying to recover from a big injury, they cut together a montage to speed through all the hard work. That way the movie doesn’t slow down too much as Rocky spends weeks working up to his next fight. In real life, you have to push through all the work—especially when you’re coming back from an injury like a broken foot. Your recovery doesn’t end when the cast comes off. From there it’s time to start your rehabilitation and conditioning (unfortunately, without the montage).


Healing a broken foot is a process. Once the break has been identified and the extent of the damage evaluated, you have the bone immobilized so it can recover. But while casting a foot fracture is necessary, it doesn’t help your lower limb get back its strength and power. Once the cast comes off, your bone may be mostly repaired, but your lower limb is still weak overall. That is where rehab and conditioning come in.


Rehabilitation with physical therapy exercises helps you regain your foot’s range of motion, general flexibility, stability, and overall strength. Ankle circles or writing the alphabet with your injured foot are common techniques to improve range of motion. Calf stretches will be important to make sure your Achilles and calf aren’t too tight after a period of immobilization.


Strengthening exercises begin small. Picking up marbles with your toes, toe spreads, and resistance band exercises carefully work the muscles in your feet and toes. Walking on your tip-toes and balance activities build up muscles further and work on stabilizing your lower limbs again.


Conditioning comes in to return you to your activities. Your feet have to be conditioned to handle the stress of your hobbies once more. Often this means exercises that stress your feet in ways that are specific to your sport. You start slow, then increase in intensity and endurance over time until you’ve gotten back to your full power.


There won’t be a musical montage speeding you through your full recovery after a broken foot, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a miserable journey. Our team at Gulf South Foot & Ankle, LLC will help you through every stage of healing, making it as smooth and painless as possible. Contact us for an appointment or more information today through our website. You can also call (504) 708-4810 to reach our Metairie, LA, office directly.


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