When can you play sports after breaking a bone?

Breaking a bone can be one of the most painful types of injuries. (I should know. I broke a bone in my ankle in college!) It’s also scary not knowing when it will heal and when you can return to sports or exercise. In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I answer the question from a reader who wonders when she can play soccer after a fracture.

Ashley in Derbyshire asks:

Hello Dr. Geier,
I fractured my fibula playing soccer, I have currently been training for the past 3-4 weeks now. I just have a slight little pain in my leg. Can I play contact soccer as of this weekend? Or should I rest it for a little longer? It has been 11 weeks this Saturday coming. I’m running around fine on it as well.

The fibula is the bone on the outside of the leg and ankle. You can break it at the ankle (lateral malleolus) with an inversion injury to the ankle similar to the way most ankle sprains occur.

Do you need to see a doctor? Answer this ONE question about your foot injury!

In this video, I explain the process of returning to sports after a distal fibula/lateral malleolus fracture. It applies to all fractures, really. I discuss time for the bone to heal and the process to advance your activity to get ready for sports.

Also read:
Are athletes likely to return to sports after tibia fractures?
Return to sports after a tibia fracture

Please remember, while I appreciate your questions, I cannot and will not offer specific medical advice by email, online, on my show, or in the comments at the end of these posts. My responses are meant to provide general medical information and education. Please consult your physician or health care provider for your specific medical concerns.

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david-headshot I am an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist in Charleston, South Carolina.

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