4 months. 16 weeks. 112 days.
One month for every week I thought I would be out.
It makes me laugh like someone who has lost their mind. Maybe I have.
I burst through the door two weeks ago when I finally graduated to the next Thera-Band. I have made everyone I know look at how close I am to being able to point my right foot as far as my left. I ask people to stand on one leg and throw a tennis ball with me without any sense of shame.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still mad as hell. I still get frustrated. I still curse and angrily announce that this is bullshit.
But it doesn’t consume my every thought.
I want to lift and run and feel like the athlete I am. I want to push myself. I want to feel the pain of a solid workout, not the pain of sleeping with torn tissues.
But I’ve come a long way to get here and I finally feel like I’m close. So close to getting back to my life.
It’s slow, and that’s okay. I can swim now almost normally. Heel raises while I brush my teeth are my new routine. I shamelessly hunt for scar tissue to break up when I have downtime. I can do a full yoga class. I can ride a bike (stationary or a short trip without my clips).
Rebuilding takes time. I’m happy with my progress, and incredibly hopeful for the next four weeks.
4 Months Post Severe Ankle Sprain
Here’s what I’ve been doing to heal up my ankle and improve my mobility:
1. Heel raises. I’m working toward being able to do these on one leg (a requirement for running). Right now I’m doing 3 sets of 20-25 reps, twice a day. When I first started I was doing 10. Just 10 reps a day.
2. Eversion and inversion with a Thera-band. I recently graduated to the green band (medium resistance) and I have rapidly progressed to 3 sets of 20 reps.
3. Cupping. Game changer. This has made all the difference for me. My physical therapist has been using cupping to target scar tissue and release tension in my tissues. The difference is insane. I’ve never had such a quick result. The best part? It’s winter so no one can see that I look like I’ve been in a fight with a giant octopus.
4. Scraping. My PT has been using gua sha to break up my scar tissue and improve the glide of my tissues. He even taught me how to do it to myself with an Asian soup spoon. Besides cupping, this gets me the best results (in terms of pain, stiffness, and mobility).
5. Arnica gel. Mostly to combat my battle wounds. But I’ll take any extra benefit I can get.
6. Activity. I’ve been slowly increasing my walking distance and speed. I finally walk at my normal pace again (which is apparently faster than most people if you listen to the complaints of my friends). I swim 2-3 times a week, walk 3-4 times a week, strength train at the gym 2-3 times a week, and do yoga once a week. I’m doing my best to stay active so I’m ready to run and really lift when my ankle is ready.
7. Rest. This time around I’m tuning in and really listening to what my body has to say. When my ankle is bothering me (more than normal), I am careful to put it up and stay there. I back off in workouts when it doesn’t feel quite right. I get extra sleep to make sure my body has time to generate new tissue and clean out all of the junk from the day before.
8. Eat! I strongly believe that food is medicine. I’ve been doing my best to get as many nutrients as possible. Anti-inflammatory foods like healthy fats and antioxidants have also been high on my list.
Fingers crossed I get to run when spring sets in for good!