Injury Update and a Tip for Swimming with a Cast

Five weeks ago I fractured my foot during the half-marathon at Ironman 70.3 Austin. Since then, I’ve been on crutches with a non-weight-bearing cast. Normally after a half-Ironman distance race I get back in the pool after a couple days, start running and cycling a few days after that, and return to regular activity after two weeks. Of course, with a broken foot, a cast, and crutches, my post-season has been anything but normal. I have been able to use a rowing machine and hand cycle, as well as some strength training.

I saw the doctor for x-rays on Thursday. I had hoped for a removable walking boot that I could hopefully swim with. Unfortunately, while the x-rays showed substantial progress and healing, a fracture remained and the doctor chose to put me back in a cast; at least this time it is a weight-bearing cast that I can walk on without crutches. This makes life substantially easier, but I was nonetheless severely disappointed that I could not get a removable walking boot. I go back for more x-rays in another four weeks.

Fortunately, I found a good waterproof cast cover that is made for swimming – the DryPro, by DryCorp. The DryPro is a rubber vacuum boot designed to fit over a cast or bandages. You pump air out with a small pump similar to that used with a blood pressure cuff.  They are available for your arm, leg (above the knee), and half-leg (below the knee). The good news is that it works. You just need to get the right size (a DryPro Sizing Tool is available on DryCorp’s website) and be really careful putting it on, because it tears easily. With the DryPro I was finally able to get back in the pool. I swim slower with a buoy to start with. Add that to being out of the pool for four weeks and towing my boat anchor of a cast and I am a lot slower. Still, it’s a better workout than I was getting before and should help me retain more fitness for the next few weeks.

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