Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ankle Update

On Monday February 22, I had a physiotherapy appointment and we talked again about the lump just above my ankle bone along the tendon. This spot has been where my ankle starts to ache after I work it too much. I asked if she thought it was scar tissue, fluid or something else. She told me that it felt too hard for fluid and too soft for bone and she really didn't know what it was. I stated that I thought I should go back to my doctor and see about getting some kind of scan done so we would know exactly what we were dealing with since I hadn't had any type of internal scan performed on my ankle up to this point. At first I thought this might be futile because whatever scan I went for would likely not be for about a month. I figured it wouldn't hurt to call the doctor again anyway and the sooner the better. So the next day I called and got an appoinment to see the doctor the following day. That night I ran the indoor track with the group and felt pretty good. I pushed it a little harder and felt the soreness creep back a little quicker as I suspected it would do. However, I felt I had done more than the week before and that I was still getting progressive improvement.

The next day the doctor felt the lump on my ankle and said he would send me for a x-ray. I said I thought he was going to send me for an ultra-sound or MRI so that the soft tissue could be looked at. He told me he didn't care about the soft tissue, it was the bone he was more concerned about. When I asked him how long it would be before I could get in for the x-ray I was surprised when he said “right now”. I went into the x-ray office and there were no other patients so they took me right away. The technician took 4 images of my ankle at various angles. As she was taking the last one I asked her how much soft tissue the x-ray would be able to show since it was a tendon injury. She told me it wouldn’t show much soft tissue and then she paused and said “Well you definitely have more than a soft tissue injury.” She then motioned me over to look at the image and I could see even before I got close that there was a fracture across the fibula about 6cm above the ankle joint. I was shocked and felt a little sick in disbelief. She said it was pretty much healed and it looked pretty straight to her. I thanked her and still in some shock I left the office.

On Thursday, the doctor’s office called and referred me to an orthopaedic surgeon. So now I am waiting to set up an appointment with him. It was again another shock that I now have to see an orthopaedic surgeon, after all this time and it not feeling what I imagined a bone fracture would feel like. With my brain now unable to concentrate on anything else, I have been searching online for more information on my situation.

Here are a couple of sites I found interesting.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

More Winter Lessons

As I recover from my strained ankle tendons I realize I have learned the hard way that one of the challenges of barefoot running in the snow is avoiding tendon injury. The problems are dealing with a slippery uneven running surface and keeping the tendons warm enough to have the flexibility to maintain stability on this kind of surface. Part of the solution is to do a good warm-up followed by plenty of stretching of those tendons. I also found it is a good idea to maintain a pace that will keep your feet, ankles and legs warm during the run and not slow down until you are done and somewhere warm. The other part of the solution is to run where there is a clear ice-free surface and preferably no salt.

I believe this injury would have occurred even if I was wearing running shoes, however I understand now that a barefoot runner is going to develop strength and stability in their ankles by the increased demand they put on them, but the flip side to that is when conditions are poor (cold, no stretching and running fast over rough terrain) the increased demand can cause injury to even the strong ankle of a barefoot runner.

Strains can take a longer time to heal than other injuries. It’s been almost two months since I injured my ankle and I still cannot run on it even though I can do moderate walking with no problem. I am seeing my Physiotherapist on a weekly basis and she seems happy with my progress however, I am not planning any races this year at this point.

There are still places along the tendons that are swollen with fluid and causing some discomfort, but it is a lot better than it was. I am currently taking Aleve in the morning and at night to reduce the swelling and wearing a tensor bandage with a foam insert to put pressure on the swollen parts of the tendon. My Physiotherapist said she thought I could try running at the indoor track on Tuesday February 16. The other night I went to the Wellness Centre and tried the Deep Water Running and I found out how much cardio I have lost in the last two months. The Deep Water Running involves wearing a floatation belt, tethering yourself to the wall of the pool as you run suspended in the deep end. It’s a good workout and I plan on doing more of this until I am healed.