Hobbled

A few years ago, my sister-in-law sustained an ankle injury while running. She runs a lot, especially when compared to me. I remember hearing about her injury woes and the damper it put on what she wanted to do, which was be physically active and exercise. I can now officially empathize with her — kinda.

Two weeks ago I was exactly one mile into a run when my left calf immediately seized up. Sure, the muscles in my legs were tight before the injury, but I attributed that to the fact I had just climbed a hundred feet or so on my run. It was on the way down that my calf decided my run was over. It was an immediate and sharp pain and I could barely stand. I tried to stretch it out a bit but to no avail. I hobbled home (while listening to John H. Groberg talk about his mission in a random conference talk from 2004) and applied the R.I.C.E. first aid idea.

I had a hard time walking for three days or so. I self-diagnosed the injury as a grade 2 strain (grade 1 is temporary; grade 3 is surgery). That was a Monday night. I didn’t do anything physical that entire week. I did a bit more the next week in terms of being up and active. But it wasn’t until nearly two weeks later on a Friday that I attempted to run again. Jen dropped me off at a trailhead and I took off for what turned out to be 2.75 miles of fun. I could feel some tightening but nothing extreme. As it tightened up, I stopped to walk before running again. However, I was feeling pretty good about myself at this point. I wasn’t “there” yet in terms of my recovery, but I thought I could do more.

Fast forward a few days, to this last Wednesday night, and I decided to go on a run again. I had gone nary a quarter mile when I totally rolled my right ankle. No big deal, right? I’ve rolled ankles about 100 times in various sporting activities. I walked it off for 100 yards or so and felt like I could run again, although somewhat slowly. About a mile into the run, however, I realized my calf was tight enough that I was on the brink of another grade 2 strain. I think my favoring my left leg due to my rolled ankle put more burden on an already-tender calf muscle.

So here I was again…over a mile from home, hurting, and wishing I had just stayed home with a bowl of ice cream watching something on TV.

After a night’s sleep, I woke up with a pretty swollen and sore ankle. And a sore calf. I’m a real sight to behold as I climb stairs.

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5 thoughts on “Hobbled

  1. I hope you feel better soon and that your injury is NOT a high ankle sprain because those take a while to heal. I should have stayed in my boot and on those crutches for my full 6 weeks because I really struggled to recover properly after that. My best advice, if you want any, is to RICE, and I’m sure you know what that means, but if you don’t it’s Rest the injury, Ice the injury often, Compress it with wrapping it tight and Elevate it. Do this for a full week and also see a doctor to have it x-rayed or MRIed before you run on it of any distance again. I had hurt mine and then ran a half marathon and that’s what killed my ankle. I hope you make a full recovery and feel amazing enough to run again very soon.

  2. Yeah, my ankle is a very run-of-the-mill ankle sprain. The fact that I could still run over a mile immediately after rolling it was a good indicator of that. It’s still a bit swollen today (Sunday) and sore, but nothing that requires a boot.

    I am a bit more concerned about the calf strain, though. I can walk around just fine, but as soon as I start running, it tightens up. My next door neighbor is a physical therapist and he’s offered to work on it to help work it out. I think I’ll take him up on it.

  3. That sounds very familiar, the calf part. Mine felt like some whacked my calf with a golf club. Fortunately for me, I was only a 1/2 mile from home when it happened. That was last summer, the PT I went to it was because my right hip was tight and I was heel striking as I ran. That combo was causing stress on my calf and it just got over worked (I ran a 50k and 20-mile trail last year, the training and races pushed it too far). He rubbed on my calf several times, stretched out my hip, gave me some PT to do, and told me to run on my forefoot. I had to start slowly, the most I could run at the beginning was 5 minutes. That was hard. I could add a few minutes each week. I’m not a heel striker now, but I’m not quite up there on my toes, somewhere on the forefoot. I’m back to running long distances again, 7 months later. Today it was 16 miles.

    • What’s surprising about your situation is that he had you convert to a forefoot strike during your recovery. I found that if I switched to a heel strike temporarily during my most recent runs I could prolong my run because it’s not as taxing on the calf muscle. I’m typically a mid to forefoot striker these days. Although I’m not really a runner. I’m a gimp!

      On Sun, Mar 16, 2014 at 7:36 PM, Jess – n – Jen wrote:

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  4. You had a long hard weekend, that’s for sure. I’m sorry for the leg and ankle troubles you are having. It’s not fun and difficult to accomplish what you want to do when you have a leg injury. Go to PT. They are my best friends.

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