Anklemania, or How Do You Always Get Hurt?

If you’ve looked at my Twitter in the last couple weeks, you will have heard me bitching about my ankle.  It’s no surprise to anyone who knows me that there is somehow something wrong.  I usually end up in the ER for an annual visit of some sort: 2011 was for the my gallbladder, 2010 was for pleurisy, and years prior were mostly for asthma.  I didn’t end up in the ER for my herniated disc, though the owner of my gym offered to call an ambulance.  That time, I probably should have gone if for no other reason than to get better pain medication or to get diagnosed faster.

At any rate, I have actually been dealing with left foot problems since I was in Boston in January.  While taking a run with my sister around Cambridge where there are some very uneven sidewalks that are often made of brick, I think I did something to my toe or foot.  I’m not sure which came first because eventually, it was both.  My theory was that I hurt one and then walked so strangely to compensate, that I aggravated the other.  I guess it really doesn’t matter where it started. As for my ankle, it has been giving me trouble since around the 5k almost two weeks ago.  When we went to the expo for packet pick-up, I was half-searching for two things: a hat and something to help my just-starting-to-ache ankle.  I never did find a hat, but I did find something helpful.

First, I stumbled upon a booth selling compression socks, but that wasn’t really what I wanted.  I then found CEP products.  I wanted this ankle support, but my (somewhat swollen) ankle measured in a size they didn’t have, so I went back to the compression sock booth.  I settled on some Sigvaris athletic recovery socks.  The sales woman explained a few things about the socks, that they could be worn during activity or for just recovery, the type of compression, etc.  I signed for them and we were off.  Of course, after the expo, we went and walked around Disney parks, so the only time I had with the socks before the race was a small amount of time the night before.  I didn’t want to wear them for the race because I didn’t know how it would be to run in them.  I did wear them after, and that seemed to calm my feet/ankle/calves down a little.  After the race, though, we went park hopping again and that was also probably not helpful.

After two weeks,  I am  still dealing with ankle pain.  I’m sure it’s partially because I haven’t taken real time off from activity.  The stiffness and pain usually subside with use, flare a little bit during activity, but then go away until I am suddenly stationary for awhile and then it doesn’t feel so good again.  My trainer suggested icing after all activity, which I’ve been doing.  I’ve been wearing the compression socks and elevating for recovery as well.  I took today off of running because going out in the wind and rain with my ankle feeling stiff and painful just seemed like too many negatives.  I am hoping that by the time I go out for a run tomorrow, I will be a little better off.

So, if you have ideas about how to ensure better ankle strength and support or just how to get this healed up a little faster, I’d love to hear any suggestions.  I fear RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) is my only option and that doesn’t sound like a quick fix.

That last statement actually answers the question in this post’s title: I always get hurt because I want things too fast.  I hurt my back because I did too much lifting too quickly.  I was too tired and didn’t check my form while using heavy weight, taking for granted what my body could do.  My ankle has bothered me because I haven’t taken the appropriate amount of time to heal.  Hell, it’s probably just from overuse in the first place. Not resting to the point of pain and then not resting when there is pain just means more pain.

The moral of this story: take it slow. Whatever physical activity you are jumping into, don’t follow my lead and jump a little slower.  I try to listen to my body and then I promptly tell it to shut up.  Don’t do that.  Avoid anklemania for yourself.