Monday, August 15, 2011

Ankle, Schmankle

Back when I first started running, it was such an accomplishment to run a lap on the short trail at the park closest to our house - the park with the statues that startle me.  If memory serves me correctly, I believe that was just over half a mile.  And then, I branched out, crossing over to run the path around the soccer fields.  Finally, I would run both paths AND from one end of the park to the other.  I was thinking about this park the other day (ironically, while I was in the pool) and remembering how, bit by bit, I kept expanding my running distance.  Jeff and I used to go out there every Sunday morning - he would ride his bike, while I would run.  I can't believe that it was just a year ago that we did this.  And now, he's out there running, while I'm not.

I feel like I've been brought to my knees by this ankle injury - who knew it would go on like this?  At first, I was just bummed that I wouldn't be able to run the half marathon that I had trained so long for.  But as the months without any running went by, and then my few attempts resulted in pain, and more months went by, I began to wonder if I'd ever run again.  Dramatic, yes, but real.

So the truth is that it still gives me trouble. I feel it when I swim - although the kicking motion might not "pound" on it, there is resistance in the water, and that does bug my ankle a little.  Also, some of the standing-balancing-on-one-foot yoga poses bother it - to the point that I've had to take some Motrin over the last week.  This does not make me feel super-confident about returning to running soon, although that is, in fact, my plan.  It may sound crazy, but really - I'm wondering if my ankle will ever return to normal.  Maybe this IS my new normal.  And quite honestly, while the pain bugs me, it's almost more the idea of the pain, rather than the pain itself, that is irritating, because pain, to me, signals no running.  Also, even with the bits of pain that I'm experiencing, I'm not going to stop swimming or doing yoga.  Enough is enough, you know?

I'm giving it one more shot - I have an appointment with a podiatrist who specializes in ankles.  September 14th - yes, a month from now (we are changing insurances and have to wait for that to take effect).  Anyway, I'm going to see what he recommends and go from there.  But honestly, if it's more "give it time" - well, I may just not.  Hey, as long as my leg isn't going to break in two, and this is as much pain as there will be, I might as well do what I want, which is to add a little running back into my life.  Just a little.  I no longer have dreams of running a half marathon - just a mile would be wonderful.  I want to run that statue lap.  I want to run for smoothies with my buddy Jenny.  And on December 3rd, I want to run the 5K at Dallas White Rock - the day before Jeff and the rest of my running club tackles the half and full marathon.  Nearly a year after this injury happened, I don't think that's asking for too much.


  1. man I feel for you.
    This was not my best weekend as I was surrounded by friends who couldnt find their running mojo and I had mine--but couldnt run.

    heres hoping 9.14 gives you all the answers you need.

  2. That's definitely not asking too much Shelley. I can't believe how long this is bothering you already. It would totally drive me nuts.

    It's good that you made a final appointment for your ankle and I keep my fingers crossed this one can help you to get painfree again.

    R. broke his foot couple of years ago and up till today he still has pain but for him it's manageable, one day is better than the other.
    I think he will exactly understand what you are going through.

    Big hug for you.

  3. Mr. Helen and I were talking over the weekend about our various aches and pains and he shared about how, ever since he tore his rotator cuff and ripped bicep and had that surgery, THREE YEARS AGO, his arm has never been the same. So his new normal is that he always has to adjust for that. No more 100 pushups in a row. He cannot physically do it.

    If you can indeed return to running, a little, without causing some sort of permanent disabling injury, I say go for it!! Enough is enough.

  4. I hope you get the answers you want. I was wondering about the old ankle just the other day. Thanks for the update.

    I have had to just adjust to my knee. Walking is great great, but running is a no no. Maybe you will have to adjust to a new normal.

    Good luck. It's a long wait, one month. Just keep swimming :)

  5. Hope the new doctor gives you some great news!!!

    I thought about you this weekend as I was browsing some Zumba outfits...I thought about your color coordinated outfits for different sports. This morning as I was frantically throwing gym clothes in my bag as I ran out the door (hoping to have pants, shirt, bra, socks, shoes) I realized I will never be a color coordinator...I am just good to have everything that I need! :) LOL I am more like the kid in preschool that can dress them self, but doesn't match :)

  6. I think about that ankle more than you know. I hate bringing it up because I know it's a "sore" subject. (sorry, I can't help myself)

    I want to see you running again. Maybe if pain is going to be your new running accessory the good doctor can hook you up with some vicodin or something good to make the pain at least a little more fun. LOL

    I'm still hoping I can get to Dallas. Actually that will be my 10 mile weekend run so I wouldn't mind trying to get in the half. :) We'll see. Of course, I REALLY want to cheer for you if you do the 5K. I'd even make a sign. :)

  7. Hi Shelley, I'm crossing my fingers, toes, knees, eyes and anything else that can be crossed for you!!! REALLY hope the doc can get you some relief and you can get back to running! Have a good Monday!!!

  8. I'm sorry I can't remember--did you ever see a sports injury specialist--wonder if they would have a more proactive type of advice? And how did it happen in the first place? And if you can't run, what about race-walking--that is HARD. Not as much fun as running, and it looks weird, but it sure is good exercise.

    Plus what Helen said. (no not the part about having rorator cuff-ripped bicep surgery--you know what I mean!)

  9. Gosh, I was really keeping my fingers crossed for you that you'd seen some improvement in the ankle since you'd been swimming and yoga and giving it a different kind of workout.

    I say - give it a try. Get some new, fresh shoes and just try. Run a little, walk a little - see what happens. Do lots of ankle circles to loosen it up and foam roll your legs religiously to make everything else as loose as possible. If you do try running, try your hardest to really use your ankle (don't run on your toes to keep it more immobile) - I only say that because I'm definitely guilty of babying my right ankle due to past breaks and sprains and I definitely notice pain in it now.

    Also, Stonyfield giveaway on my blog, if you need some cheering up :)

  10. Since I have never been a "runner" I suppose I can't really relate, but I have been a "walker" with a bad ankle so in that way I can! I definitely feel your pain. It sucks to not be able to do the things you want to do. That being said, running is such a high impact sport. With my injury I can't imagine ever running. I guess all you can do is try. Your pain will tell you if it's something you can tolerate or not. Good luck, I'm rooting for you!

  11. I would take the fins off more and more. I rarely wear fins because of the extra torque they cause my knees and ankles. I might train and do 10 50's in them but then they come off and I do pull set.

    Also kicking pints your toe and will help develop muscle but if you want a low impact way to flex your foot and prep for running again i suggest you run in chest deep water. its splashy if you do it fas and hard enough but does get your heart rate up and works the muscles you need as if you are a 50 lbs child on those joints.

    I want to see you be able to do anything and everything you love so that your options are open.

  12. You are not asking too much! One year and still having pain with swimming is very frustrating. Although I do understand how the kicking motion could cause discomfort. Second and maybe third opinions are definitely indicated for a prolonged injury like this. You know there are a zillion specialists in Houston (the ortho docs who take care of the Rockets come to mind) that would evaluate your ankle very seriously. (My sweetie might still have some personal contacts from our years in Houston if you need more referrals.)

    That said, if it is a injury that ends your running career, well, you will be in the company of many amazing athletes whose careers ended from injuries. (Small comfort, I know.) And, you have found an activity you enjoy and is a much better whole body workout - it just isn't very portable!

  13. Shelley - I totally get where you are coming from. I have that new normal after my back problems and it is just a nagging thought that I don't want it to be that way, but having to accept (for now at any rate) that is how life has to be.

    I think it is so great that you are doing other things, though, and enjoying them so much. It would have been so easy for you to go back to the old Shelley and packed pounds back on and stopped doing any activity at all. That's how far you have come.

  14. I'm with you. The other night, I found myself wondering if it really would be all that bad to try running with Damn Knee, even though it complains every time I try too much walking or ellipticalling. I mean, we've been patient and all that stuff. Enough already!

  15. Just be careful and don't injure it more. I have a feeling the doc will give you good news, cause the 14th is two days after my b-day!

  16. I've been following your blog for quite some time and felt it was time to come out of lurking mode. I'm very curious as to what this new podiatrist will recommend. I hurt my ankle in Jan. and ever since it has been giving my problems. Starting a new yoga class on Wed and hoping for the best.

  17. I hear everything you are saying. I totally get it and I feel your frustration because I would feel the exact same way. I am glad you are going for another look.

  18. is barefoot running an option, have you researched that? Less pressure on your ankle

  19. Hi there Shelley,

    I don't know much about what happened to your ankle, and you probably already know about everything I'm about to say. But just in case...

    My hubby had an ankle injury about 3 years ago. It still bothers him. The doctors have said that much of that is because ankles take forever to heal. The other part is, they can't heal with repeated strain. This is bad news because they said, since he's overweight, just walking on it is enough strain to prevent healing.

    The doctor's suggestion: lose weight (I know, I know), and a series of steroid injections (which are supposed to help the ankle heal even with repeated strain).

    I dunno if this helps. Hope so though! Good luck! Also, he wears an ankle brace everyday. Says it helps a lot.

  20. Maybe new normal is the way to think of it.

    I have tendinitis in my feet, and have to wrap my feet before every run and take ibuprofen 3 x day when I'm in serious training. Sometimes in the morning I almost fall out of bed because my feet are so banged up, but running is worth it to me.

    If the ankle can't be like it used to be, you need to figure out what you new normal really is and go from there. Maybe its an achy ankle that you have to give a lot of tlc, maybe its elliptical from now to eternity.

    Whatever it is, you are a resilient woman and will make the best of it.

  21. Maybe then, we can meet up!
    Things take time, Shelly -
    Healing isn't always linear!
    But we all know that!

  22. I will keep Fingers crossed that you get good News from your doc and can safely run in december

  23. I'm hoping that the new doc will give you some answers on how to get back to doing what you want to be doing. Hang in there!

  24. Good luck with the new doc. Hopefully you can get some answers!


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