Remember when I twisted my ankle and skinned my knee last December? At first I thought I was fine, but then my ankle started hurting ten days later. I hobbled my way through the Christmas holidays, spent an entire weekend indoors on the couch, and then waited five days for the podiatrist to come back from a loooooong New Year’s weekend to get a diagnosis. Turns out when I turned my ankle I strained a ligament on the outside of my foot, which caused the tendons and ligaments on the inside of my foot to work harder to compensate, which is why they only started hurting days later. As a result, I had to wear an ankle brace for a few weeks and now I’m doing physical therapy.
Part of me is depressed that I’m at an age where twisting my ankle requires physical therapy to recover. However, another part of me is kind of psyched to be doing physical therapy. I’m not completely sure why. I know it can be grueling, hard work if you’ve been significantly injured, but I only suffered a minor sprain, so I can focus more on the fun of experiencing something new.
After four visits I can say that:
- I am getting really good at standing on one leg without falling over. The key is to lock your gaze on a focus point. It’s amazing how much the visual feedback helps. If you want a real challenge, try balancing with your eyes closed.
- I can spell the alphabet with my foot really well.
- I’m getting fairly good at lunges, though my knees sound like crunchy cellophane.
- My ankle sometimes makes the most interesting clicking sounds.
We’ve been adding more exercises each week that I do at home between visits. It’s gotten to a point now where it’s definitely a workout, making me sweaty enough after a session that I drive home to take a shower. I’ve started bringing a water bottle to PT like I would to the gym. All of which has made me start to understand the appeal of having a personal trainer. It’s nice to have a scheduled time on the books where I have to exercise. Non-negotiable. Typically, I try to fit it in exercise when I can depending on how heavy my workload is or how much my headache is hurting. (Me and my headache, seven years together as of yesterday!) Of course, I can’t really afford a personal trainer, and even the physical therapy visits are $50 a pop, so it’s not something I can afford to do long-term. But I can see the appeal now.
The ankle itself no longer hurts when I walk, thank goodness. Currently we’re working to strengthen the muscles around the ankle so I’m less likely to twist it in the future. Evidently the strongest indicator of whether someone will sprain their ankle is if they’ve sprained their ankle in the past. Unlike the stock market, past performance is an indicator of future success.
Anyway, it’s just one more mark of wear and tear on the body I’m moving through life with. Injured ligaments. Grey hairs. Rosacea that worsens in my 30’s. Who knows what aches and pains I’ll develop next? At least with physical therapy I’m less likely to take another header on the sidewalk.