On Saturday I hit a bump in the road.
I originally had a lot of plans for last weekend. One sprained ankle later and my calendar became magically free... but not by choice.
Getting hurt sucks, especially when you rely on your body to endure all of the things you put it through like I do. With my ankle out of commission I had to find alternative things to do. Here is how I self-diagnosed my injury. WARNING: if you are unable to put any pressure on your ankle or there is significant bruising and swelling see a doctor immediately. Please do not take any of the following knowledge as medical advice. Finally, everyone’s body is different so what’s worked for me may not work for you.
First things first, assess the injury. I could put pressure on my ankle without too much pain after about 25 minutes of rest. There was not much swelling or bruising and while moving was painful, it was not debilitating. Consulting the internet gods I determined the sprain to be a Grade 1, low level sprain. This basically means that while the ligaments stretched, most of them did not tear, internal bleeding is minimal, and small movements and walking can be done with minimal pain.
Second, start R.I.C.E. The first thing I did after returning to my apartment was put compression and ice on my ankle. Elevating the injury will also help with the swelling. Anti-inflammatory medication like Aspirin or Ibuprofen can be used to help mitigate pain and swelling. R.I.C.E should be followed for the first 24-48 hours of a Grade 1 sprain. “Walking it off” or ignoring the injury can lead to more damage in the ankle and leave the “healed” ankle more fragile and brittle, increasing chances of having another sprain in the future.
Find ways to still have fun! Despite not being able to climb this past weekend (or this week 😫), activities like kayaking can be done as long as you are stable enough on your feet. I used my left leg and foot to do most of the balancing needed in my legs allowing my right leg to be relieved of pressure. If you are comfortable in a kayak like I am this might be a great way for you to still get out! However, if you have never been I don’t recommend the first time out being with a sprain or other injury.
Finally, don’t over-do it. It’s tempting to get right into rehabilitation and ignore the pain. However, by doing so you risk elongating your healing time or further damaging yourself. Instead take it easy and start rehabilitation slowly. For a grade one sprain like I have, 72 hours is normally a pretty good benchmark to begin rehabilitation, which should only take a week or so depending on the person.
Enjoy your mandatory rest days, look forward to being 100% again, and take each day one step at a time. Injuries suck but never being in peak shape again will suck more. Be grateful it wasn’t worse, take what you’ve done as a lesson, and remind yourself that getting better is getting stronger no matter what you might think.