Foot fractures and getting back to riding

A broken foot seems the sort of thing that alot of riders probably deal with sooner or later…after all, hundreds of lbs vs one measly foot is unlikely to end up with the foot coming out on top!

Sunday afternoon I was leading my two in from the paddock, a daily occurrence and the 4yo out of nowhere leapt sideways, knocked me down and must’ve landed on my left foot somewhere in the process. No idea what caused it, quite out of character for her and there was no obvious culprit for a spook.

I’m now in a boot and crutches, likely for at least 6 weeks. 3 small fractures in the lisfranc area (in the arch of the foot). Waiting on further scans to see if I need surgery, but so far they think that’s unlikely. Best case I can start weight bearing in a few weeks, or it may be 6 weeks completely off that foot.

I don’t expect I’ll get the boot off after 6 weeks and immediately be back to normal…what are people’s experiences with this? I’m a little worried about my tall boots as they’re fairly tight already and I occasionally get a slightly odd feeling in the left foot, which is the broken one. Very grateful I was wearing a solid pair of paddock boots, I expect the injury would have been much much worse otherwise.

Follow the doctors orders.

I had this, not as severe as you. I was in substantial pain, Advil knocked it out for me, for a week. I was non weight bearing and basically didn’t leave the house except for doctors appointments for 5 weeks. I had to go up and down stairs on my butt. I had a removable soft boot and crutches, but wasn’t able to get much mobility with crutches. I had my friends drive me to my weekly doctors appointment and pop me into a wheelchair.

I was then allowed to be weight bearing in the boot, but as it was my right foot I couldn’t drive. I did get friends to take me out a bit in the boot.

After the boot came off I was overall weak and the right foot felt very vulnerable.

During this I sent my horse out of self board to my friends boarding stable and put her in full training. I got back on her as soon as I was out of the boot. The injury was in December. I recall that in March I was cleaning out the truck bed and tidying the trailer and was climbing around but a bit wobbly. By the summer I was doing long trail rides and horse camping.

I took the horse back to self board in early. March.

I have not worn high heeled shoes since. The foot seems to have fully recovered.

Age is really significant. If you are under 40 you will heal much faster. Baseline fitness also matters. If you are fit you will get it back faster. I am over 40 by quite a bit but have decent fitness and not overweight.

I was very similar to this. One friend recommended I take extra calcium (her doctor recommended she do so when she broke her arm), so I did. I don’t know if it helped, but it made me feel better psychologically.

Oh yes, doctor had me on a calcium and D supplement. Eating well is important.

I sprained & fractured my ankle in a similar horse-related manner recently. Do you also have soft tissue injury (sprained ankle) or is it just the fracture? The fracture will likely heal quicker than any sprained ligaments.

I’m on week 10 of my injury & my ankle is not functional for sports yet. I can do most normal things right now like walking around & biking (very slowly). But running and anything physical is out of the question. And I definitely don’t plan to go back to riding for a while, I might start hopping on without stirrups for some light rides soon. But I know bearing weight in the stirrup will aggravate my ankle at the moment.

It’s a fine balance because using your ankle can be good for the injury, but too much movement will cause damage. Once you feel comfortable bearing weight monitor for swelling, if an activity causes swelling to increase that means there is damage occurring to the joint.

Hope you have a smooth recovery!

The ankle is perfectly fine thankfully. So far seems to be just the fractures, although they’re checking ligaments with an MRI to be sure. I’m 26 and very fit and active usually so fingers crossed that’ll help.

My horses are on my dads place and full training/board isn’t a thing here. The oldie will be perfectly fine with no riding, and she’s safe to hop on for a wander stirrupless as soon as I can. I’ve got someone who can ride the youngster once a week while I’m out of action, she’s so far proven to be very chill regardless of work levels so I’m hoping it’s enough for her.

Definitely doing my best to follow doctors orders as I really don’t want to mess around with a foot, ongoing pain/issues with it would be incredibly frustrating, being physically capable is super important to me. Going a bit nuts already though!

I’m certainly grateful for our healthcare system here, it’s not perfect and there can be some waiting but so far my only out of pocket cost is $100 for an Ortho consult yesterday, and that’s only because I booked in to a private clinic as I wasn’t sure what the wait time to see the hospital Ortho would be. Everything else, the ED, X-rays, CT, MRI and follow ups at this clinic are free.

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I broke my foot on January 3rd of last year. It took nearly a year to recover. Multiple bone bruises and a facture. I was none weight bearing for 12 weeks. Hobbling around on crutches for a long time. I pushed through it and was even riding when on crutches. If I had help saddling, I could ride. I even fell off riding bareback and luckily landed on the opposite side- probably not recommended!
It healed up just fine, and hopefully I don’t injury it again.

I had an MRI to check for lisfranc injury and fortunately that area was fine, but I did have fascitis and tendonitis which added to the healing time.

It was still painful a good 6 months later- could walk with a slight limp. Since it was mostly soft tissue injury, I was riding regularly at that point, if with longer stirrups on one side. The riding was beneficial as we needed to stretch all those ligaments back out- physical therapist said I needed to flex my heel.

I absolutely hate being injured and am horrible at resting. Bone bruises are extremely slow healing, so if you still can’t walk on it after 8 weeks, check for those.

eek…sure do hope I’m not hobbling around for that long! The lisfranc is what they want to check with the MRI, my fractures are so subtle they’re barely visible on xray (two only showed up on the CT).

I had more xrays yesterday, this time weight bearing on that foot because apparently that’s the only way to see if there’s displacement of the bones, which I believe indicates ligament damage. Radiologist said it all looks fine so fingers crossed I’ve escaped with minimal damage. It was also relatively painless putting weight on so I assume that’s a good sign. Another appointment with the fracture specialists at the hopsital tomorrow which will hopefully give me a better indication of how long before I’m back on my feet.

The biggest question around riding is whether the oldie will be ok with the crutches haha. She’s quite unbothered by most things but will occasionally decide something is an absolute no, and crutches are exactly the sort of thing that might fall in that category. I came off her 11 years ago and broke my elbow…dr said 3 months off. I made it 4 weeks before I was back on with the cast (promptly fell off in front of mum the first time too, whoops!). An arm out of action is vastly less inconvenient than a leg though!

I also detest being injured, and this is the worst I’ve had in over a decade. Broke a finger (also horses…why do we have them?!) last year and it was fine within a few weeks.

I had a fracture in the lisfranc area but did not have a lisfranc injury per se (named after Napoleon’s army doctor in charge of soldiers who dropped cannon balls on their feet).

I was in a lot of pain the first week or so. I expect there was soft tissue damage. We just ignored the hoof shaped bruise on my butt cheek.

Once a broken bone heals you have to deal with the residual soreness but more importantly the weakness from disuse. The first time I went to the mall after the boot was off i froze at the top of the escalator. I could not decide whether to step forward with my good or my bad foot. I turned around and took the elevator. But being the right foot it was ok to climb on a horse!!!

Things heal much faster when you are younger.

Mine’s on the left so…might be time for the horses and I to learn how to mount from the right :laughing: I think from what’s on the scans that mine is also in the lisfranc area but not a lisfranc as such either.

I’m familiar with the weakness from disuse, have broken both elbows in the past, one of which required surgery and then substantial physical therapy to regain movement and strength. I definitely recall being a bit hesitant to use it much to start with.

I’m in very very minimal pain for the most part, I’d say most of the day there’s none really. Sleeping is a bit crap, the moonboot gets caught on the covers any time I go to roll.

Excellent news from the hospital today, I’m allowed to hobble around in the moonboot as long as it doesn’t hurt, and then in 4 weeks hopefully I’ll be out of the boot. Best case scenario really, I got lucky!


Rest, rest, rest. Mine was initially diagnosed as not fractured, so I just sucked it up and walked in it for in significant pain for 3 weeks until getting a follow up X-ray.

Once I did get back in the saddle I found mounting a bit touch, because it was my left foot. Its ally I found riding with no stirrups the only way it didn’t hurt, then graduated to stirrups a hole or two shorter than normal. Then slowly back to normal. All in all from injury to riding normally I was about 8 weeks.

To quote my PT, my feet & ankles are a “hot mess express”. I haven’t had a Lisfranc fracture, but I’ve been through ankle surgery five times now.

I had surgery on my “good foot” seven weeks ago to repair a tarsal coalition - the calcaneus & navicular bones were connected, when they should be separated. So they broke my foot between the calcaneus and navicular bone (does that mean I’m navicular now? :laughing:) but it isn’t supposed to heal back together.

Your age is big thing, it’s a whole lot easier at 29 than 39. I had my ankle rebuilt at 35; being not weight bearing then was a whole lot easier than this trip at 45. It helps if you aren’t putting all your weight on an ankle that occasionally buckles out from under you; I did better than expected, that didn’t happen until my last week in the boot.

I wouldn’t plan on tall boots for at least 6 months. I have a pair of Ariat sneaker/paddock boots for post-op barn work. Pair I got had a zipper, I ended up punching holes around the edges of the zippers and putting laces in so I could tighten them up. Unless you’ve got some soft tissue damage, you probably wont have to deal with a brace, but it will swell for ~ 6 months. That’s what my ankle doc always tells me…and he’s right.

Another thing I’ve picked up over the years is squeezy ice packs. I have a box at the barn and a box in living room. I was sent the smaller ones in error, but I found I like them better than the bigger ones. Three of them & a polo wrap work great at the barn. I did have my trainer wrap my foot one day; I was too tired to fight with it.

I have been to the barn in a boot. I have been everywhere in a boot at this point in my life. I quit riding at least 5 years ago because my ankle would not tolerate riding. I do drive. I did drive a couple times with the boot on in the last month. I was pleasantly surprised that I could get in a bike without embarrassing myself. Took a little bit to figure out how to wedge it in the bike stirrup. I did it this time because I knew the bones didn’t have to heal and there was no soft tissue damage. When there was actual damage to heal, I didn’t push it.

BTW, I would not recommend trying to get into the back seat of a car with the boot. It doesn’t always fit. If it does fit, it might not bend enough for you to get in. Ask me how I know. :roll_eyes:

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It’s a touch achey when I first get up in the mornings (and it’s winter here which probably doesn’t help!) but otherwise I’ve had virtually no pain after the first 24 hours. Hobbling around is going well, still taking the crutches with me to places like the grocery store, as a) I can move a bit faster with them and b) I don’t want to overdo it. I was able to walk up and down a hall barefoot with no pain at the hospital on Friday, so that combined with very positive xrays is why they’re allowing me to put weight on it so long as it’s not hurting.

Had a friend come to ride the 4yo the other day, and she’s going to do once a week which should be enough to keep her going until I can ride her again. Luckily both horses were perfectly fine with the crutches!

My ankle wasn’t injured at all, although it has lost some mobility as a result of being in one position in the boot 24/7. I expect I’ll need to do a bit of rehab for that.

I just went through this too! I was trying a horse for sale that tripped at the trot, flipped over, and landed on me, pinning my left leg. Went to urgent care for ankle x-rays the next day and they took them but then said, “Actually, our machine isn’t the best so you should go to an orthopedist,” so I did, the day after urgent care. Ortho x-rayed ankle and shoulder and diagnosed both as sprained though they couldn’t rule out a hairline fracture of the ankle. Five weeks later a different orthopedist sent me for an MRI of my shoulder because they saw signs of a torn labrum on ultrasound and they decided to throw in the ankle while I was there anyway. Good thing they did because I turned out to have a broken fibula–not even hairline! I had been walking around
on it, doing barn chores, riding (in my dressage saddle only, with extra-long stirrups), etc. It showed no signs of proper healing because I hadn’t been resting or immobilizing it. Now I am in a boot and not riding at all. If I had done that from the start I could be back in the saddle by now. :cry:

Another fun part of the story is that I developed deep vein thrombosis in the injured leg a week after the fall! So I went from thinking I was just a little bruised and battered, to sprains, to blood clots, to a broken leg. I hope this injury is done surprising me.

OP, I’m glad to hear that you’ve had some good news! You’re smart to not overdo it while you continue healing. Definitely do PT if you can–it made a huge difference in my shoulder in just a few sessions.


Thought I’d come back to this in case anyone experiences something similar in the future.

I got the moonboot off two weeks ago. Dr said no high impact eg running/jumping for another 4 weeks. He also tried to include horse riding in that…young guy, I don’t think he’s had much experience with riders because naturally I promptly ignored that :sweat_smile: Was back on the old girl two days later, and this week have gotten back on the baby.

It took nearly a week to feel like I was walking “normally” again, which was more of an adjustment to not having a giant chunky thing on one foot than for any pain reasons. My ankle mobility is good, I was surprised that my biggest mobility issue was with bending my forefoot all the way. It’s improving slowly.

I’ve been for several 5km hikes with no problems. Back in the gym, lifting close to my regular weights with no trouble. Riding is also no trouble, although I have to focus a bit more on keeping that heel down. It’s a touch achey first thing in the morning, and can get a bit tired by night but I think I’m well on my way to getting it back to where it was before the injury.

I haven’t done any PT, I was waiting to see how my regular activities helped with regaining strength and mobility and I’m happy with my progress so far. I would definitely think my fitness levels have massively contributed to a quick, straight forward recovery.


Thank you for the update–it cheered me up because I just got out of a moon boot recently too, and riding in my jumping saddle for the first time yesterday was demoralizing. My injured ankle won’t let me put that leg on the horse properly, which is causing weird compensatory crookedness. Dressage has been no problem. I was in the boot for 9 damn weeks though so hopefully it just needs a little more time. I have done lots of PT. Still hoping to salvage a show season this year but I guess we will see…

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Hopefully it’s just stiffness for you! I’ve had no problems n the jump or dressage saddles except for my heel liking to pop up slightly. I can’t get on from the ground though, even on the 14hh pony (which I generally try to avoid anyway). I had to jump off mid trail ride a week ago and had nothing to use as a block to get back on, and the twisting motion of swinging over with all my weight on the left foot was…very painful!

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Monitor for swelling after you ride or throughout your day, if there’s any swelling its better to stop riding/pull back your activity level. Swelling at this point in recovery means that there is damage occurring at the joint, which will further extend recovery or cause joint problems later down the road.

This is from personal experience. I sprained and fractured my ankle in April (4 months ago), and only just started riding a couple weeks ago. I tried to ride 2 months after the fracture and while it felt okay there was mild swelling post-ride. I discussed this with my health practitioners (chiro & kinesiologist) who both advised that the swelling was causing damage to the joint. I promptly stopped riding & have only begun again in the last couple weeks. Now that I’m 4 months post-injury I often forget which ankle was fractured.


You all are healing much faster than I did at 57 :slight_smile:

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