Program Design – Bone Cancer/Leg Graft – Using Web Exercises

fitness professional cancer exercise training instituteThis custom workout was designed using 

Case study –

John is a 45- year old athlete diagnosed with advanced bone cancer in his tibia. He underwent a bone transplant with allograft reconstruction. It has been one year since the procedure and the transplant has healed completely to the host bone. He has been given the green light to begin exercising by his doctor. Because he underwent several cycles of chemotherapy he will have a greater risk for diabetes, damage to the heart and lungs, and osteoporosis (all of which can be prevented or minimized with proper exercise programming).

His upper body is in great shape because he continued to perform upper body exercises while his lower body was healing. His right leg (affected side) has atrophied tremendously and he has difficulty with balance and coordination.  He has an anterior pelvic tilt, tends to be knock-kneed, and has moderate pronation in both feet. Here is a sample workout for John:

Have John begin with five minutes of cardio. If it is weight bearing, you will need to slowly build up time and see what his body will allow without pain. You may combine something like riding a recumbent bike to get his heart rate up for five minutes (gradually adding more time and intensity as his body allows) with a minute or two of walking or elliptical training.

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Bridges with abduction will help to strengthen weak glutes that may be contributors to the anterior pelvic tilt and foot pronation.

Using the band for abduction will help to stretch the adductors and strengthen the abductors, helping to minimize “knock knees”




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Supine leg lifts will help to strengthen the legs prior to adding a “load”.

We must work on increasing the strength of the affected leg so that it becomes equal to that of the unaffected leg in order to maintain muscle balance and prevent injury.




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Dead bug will help to work on abdominal strength both for core stability and helping to minimize the anterior pelvic tilt.

This will also help to increase/maintain full range of motion in the shoulders and hips.





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Knees-to-Chest will help to stretch the low back and can help to minimize the anterior pelvic tilt.

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Balance on two feet/discs with progression to one foot.
Begin with both feet on discs or balance device. If John has difficulty with stability begin with standing on one foot on the floor; working on maintaining his balance.
Notice where instability is coming from if he is shaky on disc(s). Is it at the hip, ankle, or knee joint – or all of the above. What other exercises might compliment this one?
John can continue with his upper body workout 2-3 times per week. Have him continue to add on to his cardio with every session, backing off if he has any pain. As he becomes stronger you can start to add light resistance with a few repetitions; gradually adding weight and repetitions. Once his lower body imbalances are corrected, you can create a more balanced lower body exercise program.

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