Working Out After a Leg Injury
The leg muscles enable you to achieve motion using a combination of organ systems including the bones, blood vessels, muscles, and connective tissues. A leg injury can happen after a fall, after an accident or during exercise, affecting parts of the leg such as the ankle, foot, knees or heels. Common leg injuries include strains, sprains and muscle tears, as well as bone fractures and dislocations. Some leg injuries may heal on their own, but others may require serious treatments like surgery. Exercise and other activities can improve the leg’s strength, flexibility and reduce healing time. However, consult an expert podiatrist in New York before attempting any exercise after an injury.
Strengthening Your Muscles
Try some exercises to increase muscle strength when you feel strong enough to stand independently and put some weight on your legs. Hold on to a sturdy surface or object when first attempting to exercise. It could be a wall or piece of furniture to provide extra support. Do several knee raises, where you lift your knees toward your chest, maintaining it below the waist level. Add extra strength to the hips and legs by lifting your legs to the side and lowering the foot periodically to the floor.
Do toe raises by rolling onto the balls of your feet and standing on tiptoes, making sure to hold the pose for a few seconds. For thigh strength, sit with your back against a wall, slide down until the thighs are at a 45-degree angle, and hold this position for about 20 minutes. Do mini-squats with the feet apart (shoulder wide), and slowly bend until the knee angle is oscillating between 60 and 90 degrees. Do this for a while then return to a standing posture.
Build muscle strength by lifting weights. Try simple lunges and squats as you hold the weights to build muscle strength in your legs. Start with lighter weights and increase them as you gradually become stronger. A resistance band will help you strengthen the injured leg. Apart from being lightweight, resistance bands come in different resistance levels. If done consistently, they can be used to target specific muscles such as buttocks, calves, or thighs. However, consult a doctor before using a resistance band for your injured leg.
With a doctor’s permission, you can resume low-impact exercises. Whichever type of exercise you do, ensure you start slowly and gradually work up to your pre-injury activity level. One low-impact exercise that you can do is walking. Walking does not put pressure on your legs, like other aerobic exercises. Begin walking gently and after a while, gradually pick up the pace. Add distance as much as your injured leg can permit.
Swimming and water aerobics are gentle exercises that not only strengthen the legs, but also the entire body. If you like cycling, opt for stationary biking, also known as exercycling. Biking helps improve hip mobility and strengthen leg muscles. You can gradually but steadily increase the tension on the stationary bike as you become stronger, pedaling for more than 15 minutes every time. Avoid jogging, unless you can walk 2 miles without pain. You can begin incremental walking and jogging techniques, for instance, walking for several minutes and then jogging slowly for a few minutes before resuming walking. Continue this exercise to build strength, endurance and increase your general fitness level.