Andys ankle rehab
Ankle update blog
Hi everyone, Andrew here. I hope you are all well and have had a successful and productive first few months of 2023. Today I thought I would write a quick update on where I am at personally with my own injury rehab, having hit four months post injury last week.
I have made some real progress since my last blog entry and I am now coming towards the final stages of my rehab. My focus in the last few weeks has shifted a little from primarily single leg loading to gradual conditioning, meaning the re-introduction of running for the first time since the injury happened. Naturally, this came with some nervousness and apprehension as even though I knew I had done the necessary rehabilitation to reach this point, running for the first time in four months following a serious injury was always going to feel like a big step. Thankfully, I am responding to the new running loads pretty well. I have ensured to keep my speeds and distances very low initially and have already started to very gradually increase these and will continue to do so over the next few weeks.
These are some of the exercises I have been incorporating into my rehab, working on strengthening the other structures around my ankle and the muscles that support the foot and ankle.
I have also received the results from an MRI I had on the ankle back in December since my last blog entry which confirmed a complete rupture to my Anterior Talofibular Ligament (ATFL), significant damage to my Calcaneofibular Ligament (CFL) and large amounts of bone bruising to the Talus bone. Thankfully, the scan showed lower level damage to my Anterior Tibiofibular Ligament than was originally feared, meaning the distal/inferior tibiofibular joint, sometimes referred to as the ankle syndesmosis is in better condition that was initially expected, which bodes well for the long term prognosis. However, now I have had the definite diagnosis of a complete rupture to the ATFL, I have to come to terms with the fact that I will almost definitely have to live the rest of my life without it. Research suggests that the structure and vascularisation of ligament tissue means complete ruptures very rarely heal at all without surgical intervention and even if they do, the compositional properties of the ligament will be vastly different to prior to injury and remain far less stable. I was always aware of this but had never really sat down to process exactly what it meant for my life going forward. The optimist in me points to the number of athletes who compete professionally in the same position as me as well as the ability of other supporting structures such as the peroneals to adapt to provide the required lateral stability which has been lost as a result of the injury.
As more time has passed since my injury I have become more understanding of how it feels to spend such an extended period away from the sport you love. However, I have also adjusted to how life feels without playing and have found myself taking enjoyment in things I perhaps previously took for granted. My ultimate goal is still and will always be to get back to playing football but I will continue to ensure I progress towards that goal in line with my condition and response to new challenges within the rehab. I now absolutely understand the uncertainty so many people face when returning to sport with a fundamentally different area/joint to what it was prior to their injury. This apprehension is something felt my so many and as much as it is not nice, I now feel as if I can relate to any patients or athletes going through the same process with their own rehabs.
For now, I will continue to work hard both in my rehab and at work, with continued progressions aimed at achieving the ultimate goal I set out on day one of my recovery in November 2022 which is to get back to playing football.
Thanks for this Andy, I’m sure we can all relate to the frustration of being injured and how it effects us on so many levels. Healing takes time and effort and often changes require us to rethink our every day habits. Andrew is young and is healing really well, as we get older this process can take longer and seem like a never ending journey. The key is to stay focused on small goals which will lead to you eventually achieving your end goal. If you are struggling with an ankle injury or want help and advice on recovering from any type of injury then please get in touch