Alternative cardio training suggestions? (mild ankle sprain)

(Don’t worry this isn’t seeking medical advice, I’ve seen my sports med doc already.)

So, I have an “overstretched” anterior talofibular thing in my foot. It’s a very, very, very mild ankle sprain from twisting my ankle while chasing a frizbee. Nothing to write home about, there was no swelling even. Sports doc looked at it, I’m taking care of it, should be fine in a few weeks. In the meantime, I’m taking it easy.

However… I have a half-marathon coming up. It’s a huge tradition for us that’s comparable to a big family holiday like Thanksgiving, relatives come in from out of town for it. (Yeah, we’re a weird family). Missing it would make me very sad.

My doctor said I could return to normal activity when, in the order of importance: a) I have my full range of motion, b) full strength, and c) can walk straight ahead without pain or limping. (I really wish he was in his office on Fridays, because I can fulfill a, b, and c, but testing my range of motion is a little uncomfortable and I don’t know if that’s okay or not.)

I’m being very careful. Even if I tape it, I do NOT want to run for at least another two weeks to be very conservative with the injury.

So anyone got any workout suggestions that would still improve my cardio and leg muscles for race day without actually running or otherwise stressing my ankle? If I just sit on my duff for the next month, there will be no way I’ll be able to do the race.

Would biking be enough to keep me in shape? How else could I work the same muscle groups?

Are you sure you can’t run on it?

I’ve run through pretty bad ankle sprains (like big swollen stiff ankles), knee tears (yes tears) and a bit of plantars fascitis (sp?).

Normally, you wouldn’t want to but if you have a big event coming up, I’d do it. I’d at least try to go out for 3 good miles (as soon as possible) and see how you feel.

Otherwise, well, biking and running are both great for cardio. But, cardio doesn’t always translate great. When you’re in really good shape biking or running, you seem to have efficient oxygen transport systems for those muscles that are well trained.

You don’t just have strong heart and lungs; you have good O2 delivery where you need it. I often take time off of running to just ride (like if my knee is bothering me), and it takes a while to get back into it when I start running again.

But, I think that cycling will at least allow you to keep your cardio system primed so that when you do start running again, it’s just a matter of reminding your body what it needs to do. But, work that cardio on the bike. Do sprints. Hill climbs. It’s easy to ride a bike without stressing the cardio.

I’m not a runner, but I can make some suggestions from my recovery from a fractured ankle.

I think a combination of cycling (more cardio), and walking would be the best bet. Running is high impact so you want to avoid that kind of stress until your ankle is strong enough.

Cycling will definitely work for the cardio, and will strengthen the ankle. I think also walking (very low impact) would be good for putting weight on the ankle without stressing it. The problem with just cycling is that your legs will get used to the cycling motion, and you may try to run with that same motion. So I think alternating between cycling and walking would help to balance that out.

Certainly start slow (short distances) and work up. And most importantly: ICE after every activity (20 minutes). It there’s one thing I learned from physical therapy, when dealing with soft tissue, icing is essential.

Hope this helps.

If your trying to just save you ankle try a elliptical trainer at gym they are very low stress but will still give you a lot of the same work you would get running.

If it was a one-time thing, I’d probably think it’s fine at this point, but I have a history of ankle issues ever since I did something really stupid as a eleven-year-old (it involved a BMX bike, a home-made ramp, and a ninja costume…)

If it had been my other ankle, I wouldn’t have even bothered going to the doctor, but this ankle is more “delicate”.

Sports Doc showed me how to tape it properly though, so I can hopefully prevent future issues when playing sports that change direction a lot like ultimate and racquetball.

cormac I’m still icing it twice a day after my commute tow work (by bike.)

Oredigger77 The elliptical trainer! Why didn’t I think of that? I’ve been training outdoors all summer, I forgot about that. If I tape it up well, for lateral stability, I could probably use the elliptical trainer!