An Ode to Sprained Ankles

My ankles graduated from physical therapy yesterday. They’re still a little scar tissue-y but they’re getting their strength back and are ready to be on the move again. In fact, I got the okay to return to all normal sporty activities! Just in time for summer (bring on the hikes and some (gentle) trail runs)! It got me thinking about what a crazy 3.5 months it’s been and I wanted to share it with you.

Dressed up for a wedding + my sweet double boots 12 days after I fell…

I can’t tell you how many minutes hours I have spent now obsessing over that split second before I fell off the climbing wall. What could I have done differently? Why was I climbing at all when my toes were already sore? Why didn’t I fall differently? What would my life have looked like if I hadn’t fallen? and on and on and on and over and over and over again. Especially after I first fell, I would lie on the couch/my bed staring up at the ceiling being mad at myself for hurting myself really badly just in time to miss the entire season of spring soccer.

But you know what? I think overall it turned out okay. Not like I needed to fall or that I purposely fell or whatever you are thinking… Mostly I think that some good came out of it. I really learned to listen to my body for one thing. I tend to get stuck in my head a lot, especially when I am stressed out. The recovery process especially required constant awareness of how my ankles were feeling. Are they hurting? How badly? Should I ice them? Are they hurting because I’ve been lazy and forgotten to do all my PT exercises? etc. I think it’s good because it reminds me to connect with the world instead of freaking out about science in my head like I always do.

Second of all, it helped me learn how to deal with anger and sadness. I am a wiggly person – not even being able to frolic down the stairs in my house was a big thing for me to lose. Also I have a lot of anger at science right now because I am so done with this graduate school thing. I used to use exercise to physically wear myself out when I was angry. Sometimes I think it’s healthy to be able to run the anger out but sometimes I think it can be bad – leading you to not listen to your body telling you to stop because you’re SO FULL OF RAGE RIGHT NOW BODY, OKAY?! So while it was incredibly depressing to not be able to have my rage outlet anymore, I think it was useful because it forced me to find constructive ways to learn how to handle everything. I’m still learning but I think it was good anyway.

Back when I was only allowed to run for 10 minutes every other day, Cobalt and I successfully ran/walked a 5K.

Finally, I made some awesome PT friends – including some people who hurt their ankles in the same climbing gym in the same area as I did. It made me feel sad that we all had hurt ankles but it also made me feel better – that this is a common error and that I’m not alone. I also befriended all of the PT doctors who helped me go from a hobbling version of myself with double ankle braces on to the me who is pretty much 90% functional now. I know they were just doing their jobs but I am so grateful for everything they did – including calming me down when I was freaking out that I was going to be broken forever and pushing me to get back to normal. Yay ankles!

I celebrated my new found ankle freedom yesterday by throwing a football outside our science building on a beautiful sunny day with my friends. It was lovely. :)

Now it’s your turn – tell me about an injury you had and how you coped with it. Or tell me about something that’s driving you CRAZY right now. Or just tell me whatever. You know how it goes. :)

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