How Long After An Avulsion Fracture Can I Run (And Why)?

Exact Answer: After 3 to 4 months

An avulsion fracture is a medical term used to connote a fractured ankle. Such a fracture is quite painful and inconvenient to a patient, especially one who is prone to running and jogging. After suffering from an avulsion fracture, the patient is generally advised to remain on a period of bed rest, to allow the break to heal.

Swelling, bruising, acute pain with slight movement are all symptoms of an avulsion fracture. Sometimes these fractures are medically reduced with casts and cured, but in other severe instances, ankle surgery may be prescribed to heal the area. However, under both cases, an individual is not allowed to run when recuperating from such a fracture.

How Long After An Avulsion Fracture Can I Run?

A patient recovering from an avulsion fracture is generally prescribed to remain on bed rest for at least 3 to 4 months. However, there are other influential elements that determine the specific timeframes of recovery for patients. It is important to cognize that during this time the patient is not allowed to run or perform most other daily activities that put pressure on his or her ankle.

If the severity of the break is much more potent than in most cases, he or she may have to refrain from running for a longer time period. This can extend up to 5 months. In most cases when the pain in and around the affected area persists for a long time, doctors can advise the patient to forego running for an additional period of time.

Moreover, if the physician feels that a particular avulsion fracture cannot be healed by palliative medication and a cast, he or she may have to prescribe surgery to fix the broken fragments of the ankle. In such cases, the time frame of recovery is invariably longer than the stipulated standard.

Similarly, there have also been cases when an individual has suffered and recovered from an avulsion fracture but has not been able to regain the strength needed to resume running. This can happen if slight pain persists in the region even after the surgical procedure.

One must always acknowledge the fact that each injury is different and each person’s body responds differently to medical treatments. Thus, there remains the possibility of variation in this stipulated time frame of recovery.

In Summary

Course of TreatmentTime Before Running is Permitted
Cast and Palliative MedicinesAt least 3 months
Ankle Surgery4-5 months

Why Does It Take So Long To Run After An Avulsion Fracture?

Doctors refrain patients from resuming daily activities like running and jogging after an avulsion fracture because the fractured region needs a considerable amount of time to heal and recover. Such patients are prescribed walking aids that help them negate the excessive pressure on the affected region.

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Much like any other fracture, the goal is to restrict movement in the region so that the break can be mended. Our bodies have the ability to self-heal small fractures, provided that movement in the affected area is restricted. Generally, within the 3 to 4 months after the avulsion fracture, the ankle bone and ligaments heal. The pain and swelling in the region will also subside. 

Moreover, if surgery has been performed to correct a severe break then the doctor has to use steel plates and screws to fix the bone fragments in the correct place. This is painful as well as invasive. In such instances, the patient has to give his or her ankle time to adjust to the foreign objects. If he or she tries to run too soon, there remains the fear of dislocating the steel plate.

Doctors often prescribe several physical therapy sessions for patients who are recovering from an avulsion fracture. This helps them regain strength and movement in the affected area after the break has healed considerably. Without attending these sessions for a prolonged time, it is nearly impossible to resume one’s running routine.

Thus, it is important that such a patient follows the care protocols of the primary physician as the doctor has studied the medical history of the patient thoroughly and knows what’s the best avenue of treatment as well as the period of rest needed by the individual.

Conclusion

Avulsion fractures can be very painful to endure. They are often caused by the twisting of the ankle or are the result of painful accidents. The most prudent way to minimize the pain and incapacity of movement in such situations is to consult a doctor immediately.

If upon examination the doctor suggests that the break is minor and can be treated simply by putting the ankle in a cast then you can expect to get back to your normal running routine within 3 months. However, if the break is serious, then he may suggest an ankle surgery. In such instances, recovery will take longer than 4 months.

References

  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0363546507299531
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1067251611005072
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