Gotta Love Those Ligaments…

Foot in Sand

OK. I’m back in physical therapy and have the nifty red stretchy band to prove it.

Rehabbing my right ankle was definitely on my “to do” list. I’ve done the MRIs, adjusted and readjusted my “foot plant” when running, cross-trained like crazy, and seen actual doctors (not just watched ones who play one on TV), but it took Zach’s recent injury to get me through the rehab door again.

The bad “sprain” he suffered in his last soccer game turned out to be a couple of torn ligaments in his left ankle.

The doctor pronounced it similar to a torn ACL injury of the knee in severity. Yikes. A Grade 3 tear of his ATF (which I promptly called a “third-grade tear” to our shared amusement)… The doctor also remarked that the tendency to sprain was “genetic” which garnered me an ironic “thank you” from my son (Last night, he expanded the sentiment, promising to write a blog titled “Chronicles of a Genetically Disadvantaged Child.” Funny guy… He gets that great sense of humor from me too, you know).

As the doctor spoke to Zach about the long-term ramifications of not properly treating his injury, I cringed and found myself newly motivated to dust off my own physical therapy prescription from about six months ago…

I run all the time. My right ankle also hurts most of the time. I don’t usually mention that, because I figure people will simply notice the apparent correlation and tell me to stop running, and it’s just not that simple. I think and “write in my head” when I run. I become a better person when pushing myself along wooded trails and can then give the world at large, and my household specifically, the best possible version of myself. So, I’ve learned to manage the pain and cross-train.

But, I’m ready to try for something better again.

Once, I dreamed of marathons and triathlons. When in Hawaii years ago, a Canadian police officer and “Iron-man” competitor encouraged me to seriously train for Hawaii’s version of the event. I put it on my “REALLY do this!” list for the years when my kids might require a little less of my time. But life never slowed down and my ankle began protesting on a more regular basis.

I’ve enlisted Matt to be my enforcer. “No dinner until you do your exercises Mom.” His smile and eagerness to climb down on the floor and do the tedious routine with me takes the “sting” out of his discipline. And I’m really trying to fit it in three times a day as prescribed, leaving my red therapy band hanging on door knobs where I can’t possibly miss it.

Hannah commented the other day that her friends tease her for always running on the left side during track work-outs, a habit formed from running with a mom who channels everyone to her left. It seems that my instinctive protection of my unstable ankle is creating odd instincts in my children. Yes, my ongoing ankle problem has affected us all.

I’m not ready for another surgery. And I know all too well what’s at stake for Zach… So, we’ll all be pushing one another to stretch, strengthen, and hopefully repair these muscles and ligaments we rely upon. Zach’s great-grandmas are in their nineties. Those genetics are quite the encouragement to make our bodies a good place to live in for a very long time.

23 Comments to Gotta Love Those Ligaments…

  1. “Chronicles of a Genetically Disadvantaged Child.” I like the sound of that … he’s got a good sense of humor.

    I used to run all the time and through injuries that never healed. I know what you’re going through.

    It’s good you’ve got Matt to keep you in line. Had I had someone *forcing* (because *telling* wouldn’t have been enough) me not to run in a pair of shoes that felt funny (for a reason, as it happens) I never would have had that second knee surgery when I did.

  2. Gee… take care of yourself, Heather… Just reminds me how important it is to keep active. I’m just returning to that now, with the weather getting nice again, and loving it.

  3. So sorry to hear about your injury woes. My husband runs marathons and now has a foot injury that has crippled him for almost a year. He’s finally doing something about it and it will probably be surgery. Meanwhile he has turned to mountain biking and comes home afterwards minus great strips of skin. My son badly broke his collarbone a couple of years ago mountain biking so I think I want hmy husband back running.
    Look after that injury.

  4. “I think and ‘write in my head’ when I run.” – make that when I bike…a lot of what I have written in my blog were products of my musings while I was pedaling, either on the road on my way to work or even on trail rides. Have a nice day, Heather and take care of that ankle.

  5. Heather

    Yes, Zach has a good sense of humor and tons of “material” (uh oh).

    What my doctors recommend often goes through this filter whereby I try to determine the specific risk, and then how I can best work around that (I still got good aerobic work-outs with a cast and crutches a few years back)… Sometimes it works in my favor; other times not so much. I’m going to be good this time.

  6. Heather

    Thanks Nina,
    It SNOWED again yesterday (-pretty much gone today, but it’s the principal of the whole thing)!! I’m glad YOU’RE enjoying spring weather and more opportunities to be active up there in Vancouver. I’m looking forward to some long bike rides and kayaking (and running!) when it warms up here a little more.

  7. Heather

    Thank you Suzanne,
    Injuries are so annoying. Your husband sounds rather familiar (kind of like me)! Without a solid replacement for running, he’d probably drive you a little crazy. But I hope he can get back to the kind of running he enjoys eventually… Surgery is a tough route, but quitting things that you love is even more difficult.

  8. It’s always a good thing to try to take care of our bodies. Running is a GREAT way to put that into practice. I hope you heal up swiftly!

  9. Ahhh…Sweet post !!!

  10. Heather

    Thanks Kimba! Me too!! If it snows, I want to run. If it’s raining, I want to run. If it’s sunny, I want to run… Consistent, huh? Trying to be consistently moderate for the time being…

  11. Heather

    Having families we want to spend time with forces efficiency, doesn’t it? But there’s something in that flow of movement that seems to release a similar flow in the brain… Some days I just KNOW I’ll miss something important if I listen to music instead of what’s developing in my thoughts.

  12. Heather

    Thanks mee mOe. Of all the things to share with my children…!

  13. Todd

    All things in life require a balance ,Take good care of yourself Heather,T

  14. Heather

    So true, and so hard! That may be a “forever” challenge for me, but I’m trying. Really!!

  15. QuoteGuy

    Hi Heather,

    I ran X-country in school and have dealt with similar injuries. Ankle injuries are very touchy. I’ve sprained mine so many times running or playing basketball. When I was at the Univ. of Miami, I worked with both men’s and women’s basketball. Our physical trainers always stressed rehab, often being overly cautious when dealing with injuries. They were this way because they knew that if they came back to early or didn’t rehab properly a whole season could be lost. Take your time and rehab. You don’t want to injure yourself permanently. Have the same passion for rehab that you have for x-training. I have often seen athletes come back stronger mentally and physically after conquering an injury. Overcoming any injury physical or mental will prove to you that anything is possible. Many blessings on your journey towards your dreams(Hawaii).


  16. So you should be careful with your actions always to avoid injury. Take care always.

  17. Heather

    Thanks for the words of wisdom. It’s incredibly hard to fit in the therapy, but I’m trying. I’ve got this ankle for life…

  18. Heather

    Land Projects UK,
    I’m learning moderation (moderately). Thanks for your good wishes!

  19. {{{HUGS!!!}}} for the injured ankles. How interesting it’s genetic. Your son sounds like a survivor. 😀 And you show true courage. Ouch Ouch Ouch…glad you’re in therapy.

    Jeff wants to participate in triathlons too. I’m hoping he will do in within the next five years.

    Hugs, JJ

  20. Heather

    Thanks JJ,
    I’ve battled this silly thing for most of my life. I hate that my son has to contend with the same weakness. Hopefully, we can both be consistent with our therapy exercises…
    Encourage your husband on the triathlons! It’s never convenient to commit to that degree of training, but maybe with YOU as his trainer and photographer…

  21. I dread it – the physical therapy. I broke my ankle falling down the side of a mountain while hiking 9 weeks ago and wednesday is my first appointment. I’ve grown to love my wheelchair and being off work, but it can’t last forever.

  22. Heather

    Oh JulieMarg…
    So sorry! It sounds like you are fortunate to be “fixable” after your fall. After my surgery in 2003, I feared I wouldn’t be able to do the things I loved. The therapy definitely helped (and will again!). I wish you the very best with yours.
    Please… let me know how it goes for you! I’ll be praying for a complete recovery for you.

  23. Heather

    Thanks so much for your prayers – day by day I’n getting better, I even had a friend pray for me at mass with the pope!

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