It’s been a month since the ankle disaster of 2012.
What I thought was a severe rolled ankle turned out to be a grade II high ankle sprain and I’m frustrated beyond belief. Perhaps it’s time for a recap.
Over the past month, I’ve rested, I’ve RICE-ed, I saw my chiro, I saw a sports doc who specializes in ankles, I’ve been going to PT twice a week, I’ve been on crutches, I’ve been off crutches, I wore slacks and tennis shoes to work, I’ve worn my brace and flats to work, I’ve been doing seated upper body, I’ve even been spinning my legs for 30 minutes at a time with no resistance, I’ve been doing my PT exercise like a champ.
I felt like I’ve been as restful as I can without literally sitting in my bed all day. I was making small, but positive progress – I just can’t seem to get all the swelling down. But it was positive enough for my PT to say that she thought I’d be able to “try” running again in two or three weeks.
But after a weekend of cheering and being on my feet, I went to the PT on Wednesday and my ankle was swollen and sore. Frick. My PT said that I wouldn’t be running anytime soon.
Enter: horrible mood/loss of all motivation and patience.
You see, I thought I would be half way healed by this point. I’ve done my fair share of googling and while symptoms and healing could take up to six months, most are back in the game anywhere between six and eight weeks. WHY AREN’T I MAKING MORE PROGRESS?!
I know I need to rest even more than I have been, but with this injury and the loss of any form of endorphins, I sunk into this self-pity hole. I know, I know, it’s ridiculous. But I feel like going through emotional stages of injury, and with a little research, I found a Runner’s World article talking about just this.
According to the article, “The sense of loss an athlete feels when injured can be very similar to the other types of mourning or grief that occur in our lives,” says Diane Wiese-Bjornstal, Ph.D., associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Minnesota and a leading researcher of injury psychology. “It’s a huge sense of loss that you feel.”
Here’s how it’s breaking down for me:
This is usually when people are feeling pain, but don’t consider themselves injured. For me, it was after I got hurt and it was the very first thing that came out of my mouth, “No! Big race! Big race!” followed by emails to my doctors with the subject line: Are You Sure?! This couldn’t really be happening just days before the race.
My anger was directed at myself. I remember crying in my car just thinking, “What did I do?!” I was blaming myself and so, so angry that I did this.
This one may be a bit unique as I added it in myself, but once I got over the anger, I started joking about it and making fun of myself in crowds. Or maybe it’s just my cover-up for the other feelings…
When injured athletes finally confront their injury, they sometimes become too gung-ho. “You think, I’ll do more rehab, more often, more reps, more weights, and then I’ll get back to running sooner,” Wiese-Bjornstal says. “But more isn’t always better.”
Wiese-Bjornstal’s research shows that athletes with severe injuries that require long amounts of downtime are likely to linger in this stage. The enthusiasm you initially had for your rehab routine fades. You miss the endorphin fix running provided, and you feel cut off from the running and racing community.
This is where you start thinking, “I’ll just do X to get to Y sooner.” Add in my above feelings and lack in healing progress, and boom: depressed. I’m still dealing with this one while embracing patience and knowing that I, in fact, still have so much to be grateful for.
One can imply what this one means. I’m not there yet, but in the mean time, I’ll try and stay off my feet and doing exactly as the PT prescribes.