Posts Tagged ‘Sprained Ankle’

I am now three days into my marathon training.  To transition back into running since my sprain, I have exclusively used the treadmill.  About two years ago, I bought a Livestrong 9.9T  treadmill.  As with all machines, it has various programs ranging in levels of difficulty.  My plan is incorporate it into my training beyond just an introduction in order to force me to push my ability further than what I could accomplish on my own.   This first week I mixed up the programs just to get a feel for them and for where they may end up in my schedule.

Day 1: 3.27 Miles (Weight Loss – Level 5)

Day 2: 4.45 Miles (Interval Training – Level 7)

Day 3: 3.19 Miles (Rolling Hills – Level 5)

It’s time to break down each of the sessions.

Weight Loss Program – The Weight Loss program was easy.  It reminded me of simple jog around the neighborhood, just a mild workout.  The speed steadily increased to two miles per hour, than it slowed back down.  While speeding up, the incline decreased by one percent.  I need it to push me harder.  Time to level up! 

Interval Training Program – I really enjoyed the Interval Training program.  For 90 seconds, the pace was a mild jog.  If I had tried, I could have speed walked rather than jogged.  After 90 seconds, BOOM!  The pace doubled.  It was just near the top of my ability.  Next time I will run at level 8.  If I can get myself to level 10, my long runs can only get faster.  The only question is, can my legs go that fast?

Rolling Hills Program – I don’t get why it is called “Rolling Hills.”  The incline never changed.  It was merely the Weight Loss Program with the incline always staying at 0%.  If the Weight Loss Program was easy, this was a joke. 

I think I am now ready to get back out on the road.  My plan is to use the Interval Training once a week.  Slowly it will build my speed up, or at least it should.  One thing stood out to me this week, running feels great.  After each of the sessions I was pumped.  Why does running do that?  I don’t get the same feeling from the elliptical, P90X, or any other exercise.  When speaking with other runners, the debate of treadmill or outdoor running always comes up.  My question today is, which do you prefer?



The Seven Stages of the Bench

Posted: January 18, 2012 by Roberts in Injuries
Tags: , ,

During the last six weeks, much has happened, and yet very little has happened. To bring you up to date, I have not run since my sprain. Today marks the fifth day in a row that I have been brace free. At the end of each day, the ankle is a just a little sore from walking. Since I have been unable to run, I feel myself slowly going mad. Since I have no reference point, I can only compare it to what I believe withdrawal would feel like. My days are riddled with sweating, runny nose, muscle aches, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, cramping, goosebumps, and shivers. Ok, not so much…just in my own overly dramatic mind.

These past couple weeks I have noticed how addicted I am to running. That’s the first step to recovery, isn’t it? But I don’t want to recover from this addiction. I want to fall off the wagon and get back into it. When I will this ankle work again?

Not I am not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination; merely an enthusiast. The days are getting colder and I find myself thinking with each passing day how great my pace would be with the dropping temperature. It is aggravating, to say the least. After thinking about it, I am going through the seven stages of grief for my ankle.

Stage One – Denial: I actually asked the doctor two days after the spring, “I have a 5k this weekend, think I will be able to run it?”

Stage Two – Guilt: Many times I was caught saying, “I should have known better and paid more attention.”

Stage Three – Anger: Watching other runners over the following weeks got me jealous and irritated. A friend has started running, losing weight, and generally improving his health. I hate him for it, since I can’t!

Stage Four – Depression: I tried to add alternative exercise routines. It wasn’t the same. I felt like I was cheating on running. I became unmotivated and gained weight from overeating and not exercising.

Stage Five – The Upward Trend: I threw myself into work (thus the lack of posts). I put in longer hours and tried to find other ways to spend my energies.

Stage Six – Reconstruction: If I can’t run again, maybe I can take up cycling. It gets me outside, and it won’t stress the ankle if it never gets back to normal.

Stage Seven – Acceptance: NEVER!!!!!

My plan is to put in a run this Saturday if the ankle can handle it. The risk is great, the reward is immeasurable. How I have missed the outdoors and the pavement. My watch keeps asking me when we are going to run again. Very soon, watch…..very soon.

Keep on running.

If you have been following along, you know I am benched from running with a sprained ankle.  I can’t afford to get too lazy while I recuperate.  I have come too far to let it melt away.  The elliptical is now my litmus test of recovery.  If I get to a day after an elliptical session when my foot fails to remind me that it is sprained, then I can return to the road.  How I have missed you, cold and lonely road.  Going forward, I will use the elliptical every other day.  Today was no different. 

Looking back on my journey, the elliptical was the beginning, and now, injured, I return to it.  It seems my workouts have come full circle.  After logging over five hundred miles on the road, elliptical workouts represented constraint and boredom.  It was nowhere near as exhilarating as the cold bite of the open road.  Until my last injury, I had not touched it in a year.  Only a few weeks ago, my wife even asked if we could sell it.  I promised I would find a way to add it back into my routine.  It only took a face plant into pavement to keep that promise.  Now it offers freedom from the boredom of recovery.  It doesn’t stress my sprained ankle’s mobility since it is only a third of my stride. 

I try to keep myself entertained on the machine, but it is difficult.  I have rigged up a portable DVD player to the display.  I tend to watch TV shows since they last about 45 minutes.  It is about the right amount of time.  The show this time was Battlestar Gallactica.  I’ve seen it enough times already, though.  Are suggestions on other shows, I am open to anything? 

Looking around the room I could see the evolution of my routines.  The basement is filled with the story. First the elliptical, next on to the treadmill, and finally just my running shoes.  The least expensive and complicated is the best.  Maybe I should get an exercise bike?  How much exercise equipment do I need before my basement becomes a gym?  There isn’t space for one anyway….unless I move…NO…when would I have time to add another routine?

In addition to using the elliptical, I have decided to accept the Peacewolf Pushup Challenge.  If you follow us on Facebook, you may have seen the post about it.  The concept is to do a set of pushups and go until you can’t go anymore, and do this for thirty days.  The question is, how many more can you do on Day 1 verse Day 30?  Day 1 I started at 25.  It isn’t that impressive, but it is a start.  I don’t have a set goal of where to end up, just every day improve and see where it takes me.  By Day 30, I should be back on the road. 

Here’s to not having pain in my ankle tomorrow!

How to Treat a Sprained Ankle

Posted: December 11, 2011 by Roberts in Injuries, Rehab
Tags: , , , ,

A sprained ankle is the most common sport injury, though not the worst.  If not treated properly, it could stall an exercise routine or sports career by several months.  Initial treatment is vital to the long term success of recovery from the sprained ankle. 

First, to review, there are simple steps that need to be taken after a sprain has occurred.  It is commonly referred to as the R-I-C-E method.  Acronyms make things so easy to remember, don’t they? 

R – Rest:

Stay off the ankle whenever possible.  At first it may seem impossible to use the ankle.  Over time, as it recovers, there is a danger of stressing the ankle before it has fully recovered.  Exercise during the first few days should be limited to swimming and cycling.  Never push yourself beyond what your ankle is capable of.

I – Ice:

Icing should be done in 15 – 20 minutes, once an hour.  Icing should be done as soon as possible after the injury.  Icing is most effective for the first 48 hours to fight swelling.  You can use a Ziploc bag of ice (with a little water), ice pack, steak or a bag of peas.  Ice needs to be applied soon and often.  Just do not ice for more than twenty minutes, as frostbite does not help the injury.

C – Compression:

Compression can be done with an Ace bandage wrap or a brace purchased from any drug store.  It should be snug, but not constraining.  Compression is important when the foot is not elevated and will have any strain placed on it.  Moreover, wear shoes, not sandals or flip flops.  The additional support can only help.  At the end of this article you will find a video demonstrating how to wrap an ankle properly after an injury.

E – Elevation:

The ankle needs to be elevated when you are not walking.  Elevation refers to a level higher than you heart.  This, in addition to the other guidelines, will reduce and minimize swelling.  A couple pillows or a folded thick blanket under the ankle should be enough elevation.  This will help in circulation of the blood through the ankle. 

Ligaments of the ankle.

Image via Wikipedia

Follow these guidelines, and the damage can be minimized.  The next step is to see your doctor or a trained professional.  The damage that has occurred can range.  There are two types of sprained ankles, inversion and eversion.  An inversion sprain is the most common and occurs when the sole of the foot is forced to face inward, thus straining the ligaments on the outside of the foot.   This type of injury represents 40% of all sports injuries and 80% of all sprains. The anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) and calcaneofibular ligament (CFL) is the most commonly injured.  The rarest ligament damage is to the posterior talofibular ligament (PTFL).  Sprains are classified under a three level graded system.

Grade I:                The ligaments of the foot have had no macroscopic tears, most likely and over stretching.  There is mild pain and tenderness.  Swelling is present and there is not loss or a very limited amount of loss of mobility.  There is stiffness and difficulty walking.

Grade II:              A partial tear has occurred in the ligaments.  Pain and tenderness is moderate.  Swelling is present and the joint is stiff.  Minor bruising is present.  The ankle is having trouble supporting weight and is painful to attempt.  The joint is instable and mobility is an issue.

Grade III:             There ligament is completely torn.  Pain is severe and tender to the touch.  The ankle cannot support weight at all.  There is gross instability of the joint and is essentially unusable.  The bruising is extensive.

Do not self-diagnose.  After a sprain, consult a doctor.  Your doctor most likely will advise you to have an x-ray to check for a break or a fracture.  What may seem to you a simple sprain may in fact turn out to be serious damage.  Injury can range from strains or tears of the aforementioned ligaments, small fractures, breaks, avulsion fractures, or even osteochondral lesions.  Due to the wide range of potential issues, consult a professional.  Once the doctor has diagnosed the issue, rehab can begin. Good luck in your recovery.  For some rehab ideas click here.

How to wrap an ankle.

Sprained Ankle: Rehab and Exercises

Posted: December 1, 2011 by Roberts in Injuries, Rehab
Tags: , , , ,

If you are dedicated to an exercise routine or a running schedule, a sprained ankle can put not just a damper on your plans, but halt them completely.  The question is, how do you not skip a beat, but not hinder the healing process.  By now, everyone should know of the R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) method of care for the ankle.  After the swelling has gone down and the ankle’s strength is returned, what’s next?  It’s now time to move on to the rehabilitation and strengthening of the ankle.

Before trying to work out with a sprained ankle, have it checked out with a physician.  Don’t play the guessing game.  If you have a fracture and you don’t allow it to heal properly, you could permanently ruin your ankle.  Healing should always be your paramount goal.  Even if your physician confirms it is only a strain, push yourself no further than the limit your ankle can handle.  There are two kinds of exercises to discuss, rehabilitation and non-rehabilitation exercises.

Rehabilitation Exercise:

The ankle is a complicated system of bones and ligaments that provide support and balance for the body.  The first goal of rehab is to regain this function.  This is done through range of motion exercises.  These exercises should be preform three to five sets a day.

  • While your leg is stretched across a bench and your foot hanging off the edge, use your big toe as your pen, write  the entire alphabet
  • While keeping your foot flat on the ground, shift your knee side to side
  • With your leg out stretched, wrap a towel around the foot, and slowly pull each end towards you stretching the foot muscles.  Repeat twenty times.

After regaining a range of motion (after a few days of rehabilitation) it is time to regain strength.  Even though you have not used the foot for a couple days the body has already started adjusting and learning to use the strength of the other leg to compensate.  We need to fight this and not lose strength while you heal over the coming days and weeks.  These exercises should not be attempted until you are able to stand on the foot without pain.

  • Create a loop with and exercise band.  While sitting in a chair, slip your good foot through one end of the loop.  The foot of the bad ankle slips through other end of the loop.  Slowly stretch the band with your legs until you find your limit.  Repeat twenty to twenty five times three times a day.

As stated earlier, balance is a primary function of the ankle.  The final stage of rehabilitation requires retraining or reminded the muscles of the ankle how to balance.   Once the ankle has strengthened, repeat these exercises three times daily.

  • Standing with your arms out stretched, balance on the injured foot.  Hold this for 30 seconds.  Repeat while increase the time by 15 seconds each time for a total of 3 sets.
  • While standing on the injured leg, slowly crouch down by bending the knee of the injured leg.  Return to the standing position.  Repeat ten to fifteen times.

After each of the rehabilitation workouts, it is good practice to ice your ankle.

Non- Rehabilitation Exercises:

There are a few cardio exercises you can do to maintain your general health or fitness.  The rule of thumb is to make sure that if you feel any strain on you ankle, STOP.

  • Stationary Cardio Bike with the injured foot on the ground and the good foot strapped in tight
  • Stationary Cardio Bike with both feet strapped in
  • Elliptical Machine (Late in your recovery)
  • Shadow Boxing
  • Using a Heavy Boxing Bag
  • Rowing Machine
  • Deep-Water Running (may even get you closer to a new PR)

Avoid any routines that require stress on the ankle as this can prolong the healing process.  Having a sprained ankle might slow you down, but it doesn’t have to stop you.  Keep on moving!