It doesn’t just heal on it’s own
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When I was a teenager and young adult, I was a very competitive athlete. So competitive, that when the doctor told me to take 6 weeks off to deal with a sprained shoulder I took 6 days off. So competitive, that I once was back on rowing on the water the same day as I had an infected blister as big as my palm treated at urgent care. So competitive that the director of the athletic department benched me when I sprained my back. So competitive that I was invincible.
Then I grew up. In the real world you don’t have access to daily athletic trainers to massage out your injured tendons. You don’t have a personal physical therapist that tells you when to stop when you just want to go. I was on my own and I made some doozy mistakes.
I didn’t think my ankle was one of them. I twisted my ankle on a chunk of ice in February 2016 while training for Big Sur Marathon. It felt like something I could walk off, but it wouldn’t stop hurting. It never swelled. I took some time off, and applied the RICE principles. But I had Big Sur to train for, so I was back at it pretty quickly. My ankle wasn’t getting better, but it wasn’t really getting worst either.
I ran Big Sur smart. I walked all the uphills (which was the position that most aggravated the ankle) and ran the downhills. I finished a super hilly course in 5:05, which I thought was prettty conservative. My ankle hurt, but it was a pretty consistent pain.
After the race I took some time off. But every time I would try to come back, the pain would come back. Worse, every tilt to the outside of the ankle would cause me to roll my ankle and fall again. I went through Physical Therapy, to an Orthopedic surgeon. We tried orthodics, stretching, taping, strengthening. Nothing was working.
It wasn’t that initial ankle twist that caused me all these problems, it was all the ankle twists I had had my whole life. My peroneal tendon just didn’t have enough groove to hold it in place and the ligament that was supposed to keep it in line was done for.
Finally I agreed to have peroneal tendon groove deepnening and an ankle arthroscopy. I made the mistake of reading the medical literature on college athletes. I was sure I would be back and running three months later.
Like I said, college athletes have the benefit that people are employed in making sure that they get back in the game. My insurance felt that I didn’t need physical therapy beyond being able to walk again.
So I had several false starts this year. The last time I visited my orthopedic surgeon, he expressed that he was pleased with how my ankle is healing and told me its one of the more significant surgeries he does.
The last few weeks have made me hopeful. I managed to run 7.5 miles pain free. I’m not sure I’ve run that distance pain free since February 2016. So I’m thankful that I have found some hope again. I’m thankful that modern medicine was able to give me a new groove. I’m thankful that my life’s biggest complaint for a while was #stupidankle (I truely am priviledged).
Lets hope this optimism is worth it. I’ll keep being smart building up the ankle strength slowly.
Linking this post up with Tuesdays on the Run. This week’s topic is Thankful.