General Question

mirifique's avatar

Will spinning (indoor biking) aggravate, or delay the healing of, tibial stress fractures?

Asked by mirifique (1537points) November 2nd, 2009

I’m seeing a doctor tomorrow but am impatient and panicking a bit; I know with near-certainty that water running and swimming are recommended methods to maintain fitness during the recovery period for stress fractures, but does anyone know if biking or spinning will not aggravate, or delay the healing of, tibial stress fractures?

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5 Answers

Darwin's avatar

I should think it would depend on how hard you spin. Most exercises while you have a broken bone should be gentle, if you are allowed to do anything at all. In many cases, someone with a tibia fracture will be put in a cast an encouraged to stay off their feet for a while, so exercise is typically not the best idea.

Take a deep breath, remind yourself that it’s only one more day until your appointment, and then ask your doctor when you see him/her.

As this site puts it:

“Treatment of Tibial Fracture
Choice of treatment is dictated by local circumstances, the type of fracture and the facilities available.

A conservative regimen would involve plaster fixation. Other approaches are by operative reduction and rigid internal fixation. Methods of internal fixation include the use of screws, wires, and sutures. Treatments sometimes used are open reduction with pinning, closed reduction with hyperextension of the knee and fixation in plaster.

Some of the complications that may arise in treatment are:

* A high incidence of open and infected fractures because the tibia lies superficially just beneath the skin

* A tendency to displace the fragments when swelling subsides, particularly in oblique and spiral fractures

* Cosmetic and sometimes functional disability if the alignment or rotational position of the fragment is imperfect

* Conspicuous disfigurement if apposition of the fragments is imperfect

* Slow union as a result of severity of the fracture, poor blood supply to one fragment, and sometimes distraction of the bone fragments

* Occasional limitation of joint movement in the knee, ankle and foot, usually caused by associated joint, soft tissue, or vascular injury

Questions To Ask Your Doctor About Tibial Fracture
Where is the fracture located on the tibia?

What treatment do you recommend?

Is surgery necessary?

Why does surgery need to be done?

Will internal fixation be required?

What are the risks and complications of surgery?”

Dr_C's avatar

I can tell you from my rotations in orthopedics we recommended patients lay off any kind of exercise that involved resistence or focused effort in the lower extremities for this kind of fracture. As a cyclist and avid spinner i can tell you… this most definitely qualifies. Lay off the bike for a while and take up swimming… it’s still pretty good cardio and you get to work your entire body in a low impact way without the focused strain.

mirifique's avatar

@Darwin It’s most likely a tibial stress fracture, not a straight-up conventional tibial fracture. Would this change your recommendations at all?

mirifique's avatar

@Dr_C Have you tried water jogging? Is it any better than swimming? Very depressed about this…

Darwin's avatar

No, my recommendations would not change. I would say stay off it unless and until your doc says you can use it.

I used to do water aerobics when I had recently finished physical therapy. It does help keep your muscles functioning and your blood flowing, and to me it is a lot more fun than swimming.

Are you a marathoner by chance?

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