How the mighty have fallen!!!

Arrgh! After wallowing in the joyous afterglow of graduating last month (after numerous attempts in 3 years), I had a 3 week job in the Alps, lugging heavy kit along mountain trails, and sods law managed to sprain my ankle in the final week.

It would be easier to accept if it had been a dramatic fall down a sheer precipice, but the reality is I simply tripped up on a random twig or stone, empty handed along a perfectly level path and wrenched my ankle with a slightly alarming crunch and pop!

Initially I thought I'd broken it as the pain was so intense, but it eventually wore off so I could walk on it although it ballooned up and turned an impressive shade of purple. Being mid job, I couldn't rest it, so strapped it up and had to wait a week before getting it checked over in the UK, where a fracture was ruled out thankfully!

I've been told It won't be "right" for 4-5 months, but that in terms of running it's down to my pain threshold and that providing I take care and that it's not painful I can resume light running in a couple of weeks.

I've never had an injury like this before, so just wondered if anyone else has had any experience of sprains, and whether I'm deluding myself that I'll be bounding gazelle-like in a matter of weeks? (The gazelle bit is slightly delusional, as wheezing hippo is usually nearer the mark).

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15 Replies

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  • Sympathy!

    Not sprain experience but recovery after broken ribs...( also done in an ignominious way..not a dramatic fall, but tripping over a small coffee table in my lounge , getting ready to go out for a run!)

    I think if you have had the medical advice, then you go with that...I remember reading somewhere on a running site, that, the rule of thumb is to return to running when you are pain-free, have full range of motion, and the strength in the injured ankle is equal to that in your uninjured side,

    I don't know whether that is still the case... but I do know if you go out and the sprain ( or whatever) tweaks, then the recovery time re starts! I know this as I am currently on the IC with a calf injury,, originally a small tear, but I went out again too soon!! Now in the middle of Physio treatment .. no running! So I would be very wary of running until your ankle is completely pain free.

    Loads of exercises to do to strengthen it slowly? Swimming probably would be useful and all upper body strength exercises?

    runnersworld.co.uk/how-to-r...

    Hope it sorts soon anyway..this IC is not the place to be! :)

  • Thanks Oldfloss - that's really good advice. I'll be careful to curb my enthusiasm (and to avoid low lying coffee tables!) . Hope your recovery is speedy - this IC lark is a drag! X

  • Isn't it though... I am allowed to walk, so just off now for a few Ks! x

  • Whar an absolute bummer! I feel for you because a similar thing happened to me but my trip didn't happen in as glamorous a location, just coming out of a pub and I didn't see a step in the dark. And no I wasn't drunk as I was the driver that night 🙂 But like you, found the pain was awful and I had the other symptons you had. Stupidly I didn't get it checked out and it was before my running days so there was no urgency 😏

    But (sorry to tell you) it did take ages to heal and when I started this programme about 2 years later the injury reared its head again and I couldn't run for several weeks after week 3. I did then go to see a physio who said I should have had it checked at the time.

    Anyway I did ankle strengthening exercises for months (drawing the alphabet with your foot, standing on one leg on a pile of cushions or wobble board in the gym) and it's fine now although I do think I feel it from time to time but that's maybe my imagination.

    I'm afraid to say that I think patience is going to be your best bet here, listen to the professionals and do other exercise in the meantime - swimming, cycling, etc. Running on it too early will aggravate and you don't want to spend any longer on the IC than you have to.

    You're a runner and the roads/treadmill will be there for you when you get back. This is a temporary blip in your running life.

  • Thanks Irishprincess - that confirms my worst suspicions! Swimming it is for the next few weeks - might not cycle as managed to fracture both wrists falling off 5 yrs ago! (Not that I'm accident prone or anything...)

  • I sprained my ankle in January when out for a run, tripping over the pavement.., thought it was broken but X-ray confirmed bad sprain. It was very swollen and colourful ! I needed ten weeks off running and did strengthening exercises, packed and moved house and eventually managed short walks. I used an ankle support when I gingerly started running again ten weeks on and it was prone to go over especially on uneven ground. It must have taken a few more weeks to fully recover so yes 4-5 months seems right. It's now fine - that's seven months on.

    Total sympathy. It's frustrating and painful. But it will heal. In the meantime plan routes and shop for running clothes!

  • Great advice on retail therapy HilaryC - I'll start shopping for winter gear!

  • That's unlucky, and frustrating too. My wife has badly sprained her ankle three times. She doesn't run, but a major sprain weakens your ligaments which means you are far more susceptible to doing it again. Before running you need to renew that strength with physio and even then you may need ankle support for some time. From her experience don't rush this, if you resprain it just gets worse.

  • Thanks T1gger - 3 sprains is a cautionary tale, duly noted. The practitioner said that running in the previous months meant the ligament had been strengthened, so the injury could have been worse (😐), but as you say it will be more prone to go over again! Certainly don't want to go through anything like that again (& def not 3 times!)!

  • People often think a fracture is the worst thing but I am not sure that's so... bones often seem to heal much more easily than ligaments, so treat it seriously.

  • I'm beginning to realise this GoogleMe!

  • You have my sympathy I fell over a stone pillar earlier this week and ended up badly bruised. I would try strengthening exercises as per everyone's advice. The swelling on my ankle has gone down but going up and down stairs is hard going i I know the. time isnt right yet to over stress it. Be patient and you will be up and about again before long.

  • Thanks Gemylou - patience will be my best friend - hope your ankle gets better soon!

  • Years ago my dad sprained his ankle (running away from a herd of cows that decided to chase him!) and was told by the doctor that a bad sprain is worse (and takes longer to heal) than a break. Know how frustrating it is - I snapped my Achilles, yuck, - but you don't want to prolong the process. Good luck! 🙂

  • Ouch - snapping your achilles tendon sounds horrific! Makes a sprain seem tame, but I'm now resigned to hanging the running shoes up for a while 🙁

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