Tuesday Tutes and Loot [11]: How I Bounced Back from an Ankle Sprain – life+running

Tuesday Tutes and Loot [11]: How I Bounced Back from an Ankle Sprain

(Trigger Warning: this post could be triggering to those who have had experience with eating disorders.)

Remember that time I sprained my ankle?

You might have forgotten. Because I actually spent a lot less time bitching about being injured than I did when I had an overuse injury back in 2009. Instead, I got proactive and figured out how to heal this damn thing and get back to my regular badass self.

Let’s not rush ourselves here … I’m still recovering*.

But I’ve gotten back to running regularly, and if you’ve been following me on DailyMile or on Twitter, you might have noticed that my runs haven’t lost any speed since the injury. In fact, I’m about at the same fitness level I was before the injury. That’s even after taking nearly a 2-month break from normal activity.

Here are a few of the things I’ve been doing to aid my ankle’s recovery. Tendons are super-slow to heal, so it is going to take more than a year before I can be completely back to normal (assuming that I don’t re-injure the area).

  1. I read this guide to ankle sprains the day of the injury and decided my course of action.
  2. I spent 10 full days off my feet. Crutches. No working out. Lots of sitting on my ass (no I didn’t gain weight).
  3. I iced the crap out of the injured area, once I heard from three doctors that I should be doing that (though there is research that says not to). My icing method is a bit different than what we’re used to. I ice only until the area is numb, then remove the ice completely.
  4. I wrapped both my ankles for support. I started wrapping the un-injured ankle to avoid an over-use injury once I was able to get back on my feet. I was definitely favoring the un-injured foot, so it made sense to me to wrap it for some support.
  5. I started doing range of motion exercises. My favorite is writing the alphabet with my toes. I compared the progress of the injured ankle to my good ankle to see how things were moving along. More exercises are in that guide I posted above.
  6. I continued my regular chiropractic adjustments. I really believe in chiropractic, and I was lax the month before my injury, which I think was partial cause for the event.
  7. I started taking vitamin C. I found a slow-releasing vitamin C supplement. Vitamin C helps aid the growth of tendons.
  8. I changed my focus from high-impact cardio to low-impact activities, namely, hot yoga. I can’t even begin to express my love for hot yoga. That phrase? Words I never thought I would utter in a million years. Yoga gives me the same mental break that I get when I run, and I get a good stretch and strengthening workout at the same time.
  9. I started doing strengthening exercises. Calf raises, etc., once I was able to go unwrapped all day, every day.
  10. I began getting Graston treatments. They hurt SO GOOD.
  11. EDIT: I will begin to wear an ankle support when running / doing high impact activities. I had quit wrapping my ankle while running because it was giving me plantar fascitiis, but should have invested in support, which caused me to resprain (see below).

Next to my decision to practice yoga, the decision to do Graston is probably the best decision I made during the course of my injury. If you’ve ever dealt with an injury, you know that there are a million different ways that a million different people will tell you is the BEST way to treat your injury. The truth is, you have to decide for yourself. I was very hesitant to go in for Graston because my chiropractor had said that she only had seen bruising from the treatment, and no real progress (until I showed her mine). But after some gentle coaxing from a local NUCCA chiropractor who does Graston, I was sold. I admit I felt really dirty going to two different chiropractors in one day, but it was totally worth it.

Graston is basically medieval torture. Kidding. But the tools look like they could be used for that. The idea is that the tools will push the scar tissue out and allow new tissue to form and heal.

graston tools // lifeplusrunning.com

[source]

After the first Graston treatment, I regained a large amount of mobility in my ankle. And I was able to start running again without pain. When I went in for my second treatment, I had noticed that I couldn’t even lift my foot off the ground to roll it to the side. Each week since, I’ve gotten about a half a centimeter of mobility back in that particular area. Considering that if I hadn’t been getting Graston I would have likely lost mobility for good, I’d say a half a centimeter is fantastic.

Also, we discovered that I have pretty bad plantar fascitiis, which is likely the reason I sprained my ankle in the first place since I’d been running on it, and it was heightened while running with a wrapped ankle. After only one graston-ing, the pain in my left foot was completely gone. Right foot is a different story, but there is all sorts of jacked up stuff going on with it since the ankle sprain.

For the record — no, I’m not giving away a free treatment, and I’m not being paid by the Graston people (though, after this stellar review, they should give my NUCCA chiro man some fancy schmancy new gear or swag). I really believe this is working and I recommend it to anybody with a similar injury.

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Have you ever been injured? What did you do to recover / stay sane? 

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Edit: I actually RE-SPRAINED it last weekend while running. I hit a rock in the middle of the road and twisted it. I’ve amended my list to include a precaution against this.

re-sprained my ankle over the weekend // lifeplusrunning.com

Fortunately I was near Mark’s parents’ house and had been following Shut up + Run’s safety tips, so I called Mark’s dad, who was there to pick me up within 5 minutes. It’s not as bad as last time, and now I know what to do to recover, so I’ll be okay! 🙂

10 Comment

  1. GRASTON! That’s the name – couldn’t remember! Asking around about this!

  2. Isn’t the Graston technique awesome?!? I had it done a while back on my IT Band, and it helped tremendously!!! So glad that it helped to speed your recovery as well. And it looks like you took very good care of yourself in general. Good for you! 😉

  3. Dude, i would never let anyone do anything like that to my body that had a wikipedia page this short. I love you, but i think you’re a little bit crazy.

    1. chimes says: Reply

      I heard amazing things from all sorts of other athletes, so I gave it a shot. Mark’s sister was having it done on her hip and that’s actually how they discovered what was really wrong with it, so now she’s set for surgery. Turns out she was born with something weird with her hip.

  4. Ah Graston, it hurts so good (actually it’s terribly painful, but effective). Smart lady, you really did a great job setting yourself up for a speedy recovery!

  5. I can’t believe you resprained it! I’m glad you were prepared this time. 🙂 [Should I smile. I don’t know that I should smile. But it feels weird not to. I am suffering from emoticon addiction.]

  6. So glad you took care of yourself after injury! <3 Thanks for sharing your steps.

    1. chimes says: Reply

      NP. hope your feet are okay!!

  7. […] fitness routine got derailed a bit this week because I re-sprained my ankle on Saturday and I’ve been traveling all week for work. I’ve been in Indianapolis at the National […]

  8. […] Graston technique at my chiropractor […]

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