Injured, Sick & How To Treat A Sprained Ankle

There I was, galavanting around the office in my chucks, jeans rolled up, thinking nothing of it. But when I sat down, crossed my legs at a meeting and my colleague said, “Oh my god, Page. What happened to your ankle?” I freaked out.

I looked down and there it was. Either I have a bout of elephantitis in my left ankle, or rolling my ankle twice during the Mt. Tam trail run actually DID do something to my bad ankle. It’s swollen again, but unlike when I first injured it, it doesn’t hurt at all. I’ll pretend that’s a good thing.

Needless to say, I’m annoyed and frustrated with CIM only a couple weeks away. Since then, I’ve also gotten sick and any ounce of energy has been zapped from me — making complete sentences on this blog post is even proving to be a struggle.

To be honest, part of me wants to throw in the towel on CIM as I don’t feel ready. I’m injured, sick, and while I did the workouts, I don’t feel like my training was analyzed and adjusted the way that it could have been to make great gains. I also know that I am a self-proclaimed sand bagger, and am doubting my own capabilities. Whoa. That’s another post altogether.

Anyways, I get a lot of emails asking about ankle sprains and my first piece of advice, especially if you’re close to a race, is to see a doctor. I’m not a medical professional and any advice I have would only be doing us both a disservice.

IMG_7789The ankle sprain from one year ago. How I loathe you.

However, I wanted to take a moment to explain the injured athlete’s best friend: RICE. No, not the starchy white stuff, but the approach to improved injury recovery. Here’s the RICE breakdown as outlined by the Mayo Clinic:

  • Rest. Avoid activities that cause pain, swelling or discomfort. But don’t avoid all physical activity. Instead, give yourself relative rest. With an ankle sprain, you can usually still exercise other muscles to prevent deconditioning. For example, you could use an exercise bicycle, working both your arms and the uninjured leg while resting the injured ankle on a footrest. That way you still exercise three limbs and keep up your cardiovascular conditioning.
  • Ice. Even if you’re seeking medical help, ice the area immediately. Use an ice pack or slush bath for 15 to 20 minutes and repeat every two to three hours while you’re awake, for the first 48 to 72 hours. Cold reduces pain, swelling and inflammation in injured muscles, joints and connective tissues. It also may slow bleeding if a tear has occurred. If the area turns white, stop treatment immediately. This could indicate a cold injury. If you have vascular disease, diabetes or decreased sensation, talk with your doctor before applying ice.
  • Compression. To help stop swelling, compress the ankle with an elastic bandage until the swelling stops. Don’t wrap it too tightly or you may hinder circulation. Begin wrapping at the end farthest from your heart. Loosen the wrap if the pain increases, if the area becomes numb or if swelling occurs below the wrapped area.
  • Elevation. To reduce swelling, elevate your ankle above the level of your heart, especially at night. Gravity helps reduce swelling by draining excess fluid.

A few other helpful resources:

Looks like some more RICE and DayQuil is in my future.

What do you do when sick or injured to keep from going crazy?

Happy Running!

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30 Responses to Injured, Sick & How To Treat A Sprained Ankle

  1. Kelly says:

    I’m having similar feelings about CIM. But, who knows, right?

  2. Ouch! Take it easy on that thing! I would say watch some bad movies on Netflix. It’s the cure for everything! LOL

  3. Jen says:

    Ow, so sorry you’ve got a bum ankle! Hope it heals fast! I LOVED For a Good Time, Call… Thought it was an adorable movie about female friendship!

  4. Ugh- this isn’t good! Maybe getting sick right now is the silver lining so it forces you off your ankle for a couple days. I think you have to do CIM and give it your all- you’ll surprise yourself! We’ve all seen some of your super speedy long run times and have the faith!
    Also, I’m totally jealous. Not only do you work at Nike but you also get to wear jeans and sneakers to work!

  5. Megan says:

    Page, I severely sprained my ankle when I was 17 (swollen to the point where my toes split – it was gross), and I’m 32 now and my ankle will still balloon a bit after a lot of exercise. Doesn’t hurt, just swells. I try to be careful about it and rest when it starts to look bad, but it could just be one of those things that you have to deal with.

    • PageWilliams says:

      Thanks, Megan. This actually makes me feel better as that is what I figured will be my/our fate for good. Question for you: were you ever able to wear heels or wedges again? Thanks again!

  6. Susie M says:

    Well done on managing to get all the sickness and injury out of the way at the same time. You always seem to come back stronger!

  7. GAH! I hate injuries!! So sorry about your ankle… never fun. I had a bad sprain that ended up being a torn ligament in my ankle a few years ago. I did PT and had it in a cast and it eventually healed so I could run (it took a long, long time!)… but now I will say it is more sensitive. It’s almost like once it happens, your ankle is more prone to it happening again. Now if it’s flaring up I will ice and rest it, but also take aleve to help with the pain and inflammation. Hang in there, I really hope it starts feeling better soon. I will say with my ankle, I’m paranoid about it but any of the little flare-ups do seem to calm down relatively quickly. And feel better too – sickness on top of injury, man I’d be a pathetic pile of mope.

  8. Oh no, that sucks!! But don’t give up yet. I totally thought my training was crap for my last marathon, thought about DNS-ing etc, then PR’d by 15min. So hang in there. You’re stronger and more ready than you think.

    Also, re: ankle treatment, check this out for some different thoughts – http://www.mobilitywod.com/2012/08/people-weve-got-to-stop-icing-we-were-wrong-sooo-wrong/

  9. Casey says:

    I’m also prone to rolled ankles (and used to live in PDX), and I cannot recommend acupuncture enough. It’s cheap in PDX and readily available (try a community acu clinic or working class acu), so it’s worth a shot! I had a terrible sprain once while I lived there and had a few acu treatments (and took arnica) and that baby was 100% better in 5 days. And we’re talking grapefruit size and purple.

    Good luck!

  10. what?! how does that not hurt?!! hoping that means it heals up quickly and you can enjoy CIM!

  11. Sima says:

    PAGE! I feel for you girl, it seems like that ankle of yours doesn’t like to cooperate close to race day…I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for a “deflated ankle” come race day. FEEL BETTER! Love you!

  12. Beth says:

    Gah, all I can say is that sucks, I’m sorry =( injuries are the worst.

  13. erin says:

    Gah! Boo! Take care of yourself, girl. Injuries are the wost, and I hope you’re recovered and feeling better for CIM! Also, don’t ever doubt yourself! You are strong, talented, fast and awesome! :)

  14. Alisa says:

    Girl, stay positive! You DID the training for CIM, it’s still a couple weeks out your body will heal itself.

    Before the cannon on Sunday, Mike Reilly said, “there are a lot of things you wont’ be able to control today but the one you can control is your attitude.” Totally good advice.

  15. Cathryn says:

    UGH! Page! I literally just ‘did a Page’ on my last easy run before what I hoped would be a glorious PR at the Berkeley 10k on Sunday. Scraped hands and knees and a nasty ankle roll! Icing like a loon here, controversy or no controversy!

    Does cake help the healing process? Please say yes.

  16. Robert says:

    I see a Trek in the picture. Did you replace the bike that was damaged during transit to Portland?

  17. Pingback: The day I ‘did a Page’. | My Heart's Content

  18. Angela says:

    Ugh, so sorry to hear it…And what timing. Hope you’re feeling put-back-together by CIM, if you decide to run.

  19. goSonja says:

    sounds like you need a pep talk….

  20. Pingback: How to strengthen a weak ankle | My Heart's Content

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