Sunday, January 18, 2009

Chair yoga for broken ankle

I am now a little past 4 weeks postop ORIF left ankle, with another 4 weeks to go of not putting weight on the injured foot. What's a previously physically active person to do, but develop their own chair yoga program! It's actually restful to have both knees on a chair. Using a table as support, I started doing Cat/Cow stretching, Up Dog, Child's pose (surprised at how tight the left quad was), plus leg raises. I figured the left femur could be losing mass by not standing on it, so I spend a lot of time balancing on just the left knee. Camel pose with mini back bend is also possible while kneeling on the chair, as well as some Qi Gong exercises. Getting onto the floor & doing a variety of exercises with legs in the air is also great, helping to tone the abs & stretch out the legs, back & shoulders. It's amazing how tight my back & shoulders had become in just 5 weeks. Just be careful coming up off the floor to not put weight on the foot! I don't think I am hurting my recovery by doing this. Certainly, my mood is better, seeing that I can start to get my body moving other than hobbling on crutches!


  1. Hello! I am no @ a few days post op for my right ankle and it was QUITE the break so I'll be non weight bearing or three months. I'm so glad I googled this topic andd found this...THANK YOU as I am newly in love with yoga and wanted to keep the party going.

  2. Hello Melinda:
    How is it going now? You have me very interested as I will be having ligament repair surgery in about one month and want to plan my yoga-rehab.
    I hope no posts mean you were so busy getting well you did not have time...

  3. Dear Melinda, I hear you on this one! Sounds like we're going through similar experiences... I'm (a retired National Team athlete now personal trainer, etc...) coming off 9 weeks on crutches and looking at another month at least in a cast following ligament reconstruction. Can we say "hello, depression?!". Ugh, this has NOT been fun!

    Totally non-weight bearing my left ankle, my daily yoga practice morphed more into a daily practice of speculating rate of muscle atrophy... before getting back on the mat.

    In the weeks since then, I've trashed a yoga mat my using a chair to practice. But it works - and offers a wonderfully non-pharmaceutical alternatives to the popular biological paradigm for the treatment of depression!

    With a little creativity, you can do the entire lunge series (crescent lunges, warrior II) on a chair. Try putting the non-weight bearing leg up on the chair (90o ankle - thigh against the seat, foot dangling to the floor)... if the seat's too low (I'm 5'9", it is for me), it helps to stick a block or phone book under your thigh).

    All planks (and Utkatasana!) can be done single legged - GREAT for your core!!! That's another option, not sure what you're doing anything for core strengthening... but that will help with back pain from being on crutches (strengthening to counter imbalances), too.

    This is my first week doing yoga without the chair (but still in an aircast). We've been closely monitoring my yoga practice to ensure it hasn't negatively affected anything. Obviously, the cast prevents any plantar or dorsi-flexion, and so long as I'm observant about limits (and keeping weight off the foot), it's been great. I've had some t-spine issues from being on crutches (my daily hop about the neighbourhood), but we've been managing that with mobilizations, acupuncture, and a good massage every once in a while.

    Being able to at least feel like I'm doing *something* has been a huge part in staying at least quasi-mentally fine. Knowing you're likely feeling the same, here's sending you long-distance vibes for positive healing... moments of bliss in where-ever this discovery of yoga from a different angle takes you... and all the best with your recovery! Meaghan :)

    1. I love the way you describe using the chair. It is a must try for me. Last week, I fractured my talus (large ankle bone) and am in a soft splint for at least a month. At 66 yrs of age, I am not willing to let my agility/fitness routine slack for a whole month as the difficulty in returning will be huge for me. Thanks so much for your input. <3

  4. HELP!!!!!!!!!!
    I had surgery 2 weeks ago and am dying without my yoga. My body, heart and soul crave doing yoga. I am going out of my mind and am noticing that depression is settling in. can you tell me what you are doing with broken ankles? I desperately need to do this.

  5. Wow, your pics could be mine! They look exactly alike! I've never been a big fan of yoga but, since I can't do my 6 mile bike ride every day now, I'm starting to go Postal! It was two weeks after the break when they did the surgery (two wks ago) w another 4 weeks before I can start to put pressure on it! I've got to do something! (If I understood all the poses that you mentioned earlier, I wouldn't ask!) Help!

  6. I broke my fibula, and I'm just getting to the point where I can rest it on the floor. Definitely going to try to do some yoga!

  7. here's how I went about it :)