Andrews Ankle News
At the end of October Andy wrote great piece about chronic ankle instability which can occur with lateral ankle injuries. We discussed him writing from a bit more of a personal slant so readers could relate it to their own injuries and how it may affect their recovery.
Unfortunately, Andrew took it just a bit too literally and not soon after this he suffered a nasty lateral ankle inversion injury which caused lots of damage to his ligaments and soft tissue. He’s written a piece about how its affected him, his life and his work. I do honestly believe though that being on the other end of an injury and having to go through the recovery process; although not nice’ really allows the therapist to empathize with the person who they are treating. Yes, being injured sucks but there’s always positives to be taken from it. Here’s Andrews side…..
Before the blog begins, it is worth knowing that there are some images in this one of a badly injured ankle.
Hello everyone, it’s Andrew here. Some of you may be aware that I recently suffered a serious ankle injury, which has forced me to take some time away from my work and will require a long-term rehabilitation plan to recover from. Today, I thought I would write a short piece discussing the challenges the last few weeks have posed, the challenges I expect to face over the next few months and how all of these can help my work in the future. I am sure there will be some of you who can relate to the situation I find myself in and I hope that by sharing the story of my injury and plans for rehabilitation, I might be able to help you in your own journey.
Some of you may be aware that I play football outside of my working life, at local non-league level in Nottingham. A few weeks ago while playing, I experienced a severe ankle inversion injury which I have now discovered caused a complete rupture of two ligaments in my left ankle (Anterior Talofibular Ligament /ATFL and Anterior Inferior Tibiofibular Ligament/AITFL) and considerable damage to my Calcaneofibular Ligament/CFL. In the initial days following my injury and visits to A+E my main focus was on complete de-loading via crutches while I was unable to weight bear as well as periodic taking of pain relief medication due to the high level of discomfort I was in. After about a week I was able to start taking small amounts of weight through the ankle while wearing a protective boot and now three weeks on from the injury I am walking with the boot on and slowly starting to take weight and build range in the ankle.
Today I wanted this piece to speak about the effects and challenges the injury has led me to face rather than the details of the specific pathology. I have been fairly lucky in my life to rarely face too long out from either school, work or sport because of an injury so it is fair to say this one came as a bit of a shock. In the early days, I lost a huge amount of my independence as I was in such high levels of pain and was completely unable to weight bear. Being away from my family, who are not based in Nottingham made this more challenging although I am very lucky to live with two great friends who were able to look after me with things such as cooking meals and washing clothes! I appreciate not everyone has this luxury, so in that sense I was very lucky. Once the pain had begun to settle after the first week and I was able to take some weight while wearing the boot, I experienced a slight increase in discomfort as I was starting to load on the injury and gradually reducing my pain relief medication, which was frustrating but with patience and understanding things have continued to settle up to now.
The other significant, longer-term challenge I am now facing is an extended spell away from playing football. Often, when I see people first come in to clinic one of the hardest parts is agreeing with them to either partly or fully withdraw from their sport/activity for a period of time to allow a rehabilitation programme to progress. I, like many others know that I am going to find the next few months extremely difficult as I struggle to get anywhere near the same level of enjoyment I get from playing football from any other form of exercise. So, how will I look to combat this? Firstly, I will look to stay as involved with my football as possible without playing, by going to watch my team play and train when I can and continuing to watch it at home as much as I already do! I am also planning to try and fill my time in the first few months of the New Year with more golf, as I will be able to tolerate this at a much earlier stage of my rehab and I know this is another sport I really enjoy. Lastly, I will ensure I set myself realistic and achievable goals throughout my rehab so that I never forget how far I have progressed from the initial injury. These are all things I recommend to patients who are facing periods away from the activity they love so it’s time for me to practice what I preach!
And so, to finish, here are three goals I am setting myself over the next few weeks between now and the beginning of 2023:
- Regain Range of Motion in the ankle by completing specific range exercises on a daily basis
- Begin to walk around my home without the boot, gradually increasing the load taken through the ankle.
- Gradually re-introduce driving to my life allowing me to work fully, utilising this in the new year
I am going to continue to write these journal style pieces at periods through my rehab and will update you with my progress, rehabilitation strategies and new goals in due course.
Have a great holiday period.