Cross training : A vital part of your training. But try not to fall over…
Cross training – doing other exercises that are complimentary to running – is usually accepted as a good idea, and a valuable part of your training.
Except when this happens…
Cause – A stumble on an uneven Aussie rules football pitch.
Result – a sprained ankle and probably a week off running.
This isn’t a mopey article however. I am a firm believer in cross training and the benefits it can have for your running. I know I am probably going to miss a week or so of running, but the cardio fitness and stamina I have gained from training and playing Aussie rules still outweighs the negative of a week off running.
Anyway, I could have tripped over while jogging and done as much damage – sometime stuff just happens!
The main point of this post is that the important thing is not the injury itself (as I said, stuff happens), but managing the injury properly in order to minimise the time off exercise.
The sprain wasn’t very painful when I fell however instead of playing on, I took myself off the pitch for a check of mobility and weight bearing. There was acute pain when rolling outwards (indicating a strain within the lateral ligament complex), along with pain at the limits of flexion and dorsiflexion. Weight bearing was pretty good, so while I could tell that overall it was pretty minor sprain I knew it was enough to call it a day and look at injury management instead.
For soft-tissue injuries I always use the R.I.C.E. method. This method is very popular and is widely suggested by both my physiotherapist and the much more widely accessible ‘Dr Internet’.
Knowing that I wasn’t going to be able to avoid walking on my ankle I got into the team medical kit and got out the strapping tape and did a quick ankle taping job complete with ‘figure 6’ straps to provide additional support over the lateral ligament complex. I was also a few hours from getting home, so the tape also formed part of the ‘compression’ part of R.I.C.E.
Once I got home I plumped on the couch (Rest), dropped a cold pack on the ankle (Ice) over the strapping (Compression) and propped my ankle up on the cushions (Elevation), making sure to do ’20 minutes on, 20 minutes off’ with the ice.
The next day I kept off the ankle as much as possible, and when I went out for dinner and a movie, I strapped it up again to ensure it was fully supported and could not roll outwards.
Overall, the minor nature of the sprain and having caught it early with R.I.C.E. seems to have paid off. The photos above are from about 12 hours after the injury. It is now 48 hours on and the swelling has reduced almost totally, and I have full motion, albeit with some pain on the extreme of flexion.
I should be able to start mobility exercises tomorrow, with stability exercises a few days after that. With luck I’ll be running by the weekend!
Safe running everyone, and watch out for your ankles!
Get Going, Get Running!