Rant over Ankle Troubles!

I am hoping the title is self-explanatory: this is not a happy post, I am trying to rant about my cursed ankle and my life long struggle with them.

Let me give the history! As a child, I have always been a clumsy child- sprains and falls happened all the time. Everyone I knew was convinced that I don’t know how to watch or that I am always in la- la land. Every time I fall, I normally get the reaction “again?”.

So 6 years ago, I sprained my ankle with a stair accident but it never really healed. 8 months later, I tore my ankle ligaments while running. Apparently the original accident led to ankle ligament strain that never fixed. I also found out that all those falls and sprains could be traced back to one issue- hyperlaxity- my ligaments are over flexible, so they tend to bend more and every sprain makes it a little worse. I had ligament reconstruction surgery to fix the damaged ankle. After 2 months with a ginormous cast and bed rest, I finally could walk again.

Of course, during physio I realized the other ankle is weak- I did the exercises, wore a brace when possible. But it didn’t help much-I walk down the road and it would twist, I tried Zumba and it would twist. I went to a lot of orthopedics, and I always got two sets of options- physio and avoid high impact exercises or surgery. Being risk averse, you always think do you really want to be in bed rest for that long and put your body through a surgery- after all, I didn’t want to do anything crazy just normal everyday activities.

I went hiking in Vermont in June, the hike up was alright but it rained on the way back- and I pretty much twisted and fell the whole way back. The foot felt bad, but no swelling so I figured i escaped. But next day, I walked down the street and twisted it so bad that I couldn’t walk anymore. I had strained the ligaments on my unoperated good leg- which led to 6 weeks of soft cast, 3 weeks of physio and whole lot of limping around and pain. After it looked like it healed, I finally started exercises and activities that weren’t high risk. I started wearing orthotics and special shoes that are supposed to support the foot.

You would think that is when the story ends but no just when I was excited about losing a few pounds (view previous post), I was crossing the street on a Monday morning 3 weeks ago and I twisted it again. I couldn’t walk anymore, I had to limp on one foot to get across the street. I knew this was bad- and the orthopedic confirmed it. Once the sprain subsides, I should get the same surgery on the other ankle too. Of course, the second opinion doctor spent most of the time scaring me about everything that could go wrong and all likely issues and complications scaring the hell out of me. And to add to my relatively full list of troubles, I keep getting the reaction “you sprained it again?”, “how do you keep doing this?”– I keep wondering “don’t people realize do I not feel frustrated myself about spraining it again- shouldn’t you be more comforting?”. I am going back home after 2 years, I have planned trips to my dream destinations Goa and Pondicherry, I have to go to a friend’s wedding- and with a temperamental ankle that flares up without notice I worry about my trip. I also worry about the reactions I will get from the extended family- about the ankle, the weight I would have put back on from not exercising anymore and being couch-bound. It is all adding up, and ended up in this page long rant post!!

SO after this long story what is the point? As I wear a cast that pretty much ties up my leg straight, ice the ankle and eat painkillers periodically, I want to remind the world about how important it is to take care of small injuries and accidents- they all add up and get worse. When you notice a trend of injuries, go to a doctor and check for any underlying cause.

Since I am almost a veteran of sprain care, I wanted to make a list of after ankle sprain care:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation
  • Don’t dread painkillers- anti-inflammatory medicines help with the swelling and deal with the pain. But fair warning- a lot of the time, the reduction in pain makes you feel like you are better. So you will end up over tiring yourself so be careful

END OF RANT- I feel like it is almost cathartic to list it out. One of the joys of blogging to me is to write about things that are on my mind, and sometimes they become more easy to deal with after because it is out of my system. So I hope I wake up tomorrow, and my ankle cooperates and I will have the memorable trip to India that I have been dreaming about!


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