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Overcoming An Ankle Injury

(In this post, I talk about medical terms, ideas, and treatments. I am not a doctor, and this is not medical advice. If you have medical questions, please contact your own physician. This is just my story and things that have helped me in my journey.)

Last Autumn, I was really excited. I mean really really excited. While the blog was pretty new, I felt like I had finally found a way to make a career out of writing, and also had an opportunity to share travel stories, advice, and pieces of inspiration as well. I started to research fun places to share with you all, spots that I believed you would really like if you were traveling to the Northeast. Then, something unthinkable happened to me, I fell down a hole!

I was not looking to jump straight into a groundhog hole that was so deep, when my left leg went in, I could not touch the bottom. In the moment right before, I was pretty darn happy. With glee in my heart, I ran to a tree, and without even realizing it, my body had hit the ground so fast that I did not know what happened to me. The pain I felt from the fall was very intense, and when I looked down at my hands, I saw that in my nails, there was dirt crusting under each one. Since the whole thing happened so fast, my body had slammed into the ground.

Moments later, I hobbled back to the car, and while the pain kept increasing steadily, my foot began to swell a little. My hopes dwindled even more after we got home from this nature (farmland) setting. (While prior to this trip I was extremely excited to write about this location, I never did for obvious reasons, so you will not find a mention of it on this blog now or ever.)

As a couple more hours passed, my foot became so big, that you could not notice leg from ankle. It looked like a large block was stuck off of me, and the pain kept increasing. Since it was a little later in the evening, we decided to make a trip to a local health facility that was still open. They immediately looked at my ankle, and sent me for x-rays. The x-rays did not come back with any broken bones that they could see, so they sent me home and said to see a doctor if it got worse over the next week.

A couple days later, my ankle was not improving at all. It actually was expanding even more, and now with a purple color on it! I went to my primary doctor in crutches (my husband had an injury several years prior.) Since this was last year (autumn 2021) with the hit of Covid-19, apparently I was incredibly lucky that I even had them, because right away the nurses were impressed and expressed a sense of relief. They said that they were really low on crutches, and the supply chain was slow getting items to the facilities.

While marveling at this crazy year we have all had, the doctor came in, and she told me that it was important that I go to an orthopedic specialist right away. She did not think it was normal that the pain kept going up and up. With a referral in hand, I immediately made my appointment.

About a week later I arrived at my first orthopedic appointment. The doctor took a quick look at my foot, and told me to start physical therapy, and the next time I would see him, I would be as good as new! This brought a sense of hope to my heart, and I became slightly optimistic.

Unfortunately, after a couple months of therapy, even though my swelling became less, the pain had not subsided. My heart felt heavy, and I made my way back to my orthopedic specialist. They ordered an MRI, and said that surgery may be in my future. I scheduled the MRI, which would be another three weeks later. After I received the results that I had a severe sprained ankle, a fracture, and many other smaller things, I decided to look up more orthopedic specialists in my area. I felt that my injury was pretty significant, and this was impacting my life in a major way. I wanted to find someone that would be really good in their field.

A couple weeks after my last visit with the first orthopedic specialist, I met with a new one. She seemed very nice, and she thought that I should try out a boot for my foot (up to this point I was in a brace.) I was excited to try something new as well, and I became hopeful again.

I slowly started to visit with friends again (very short walks, usually out to eat or to visit at a house) and that was very nice. While large and unwieldly, the boot made it was nice to go outside again. Unfortunately, my ankle was still in pain.

On the next trip to the doctor, they recommended a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) treatment for my ankle. It is a newer, more experimental procedure, but they said it had the potential to help with healing growth in the area. They basically took my blood, and made a concentration of platelets to reinject into the ankle to help the cells repair the area. I made an appointment for a month later, and we would see how well it would heal.

Initially, after the treatment, I stayed off my feet as much as possible. I wanted to give the treatment the best chance it had to succeed. The pain did go up even more, and I assumed that it was part of the process. After two weeks, with my left foot and ankle being in severe pain and turning a blue shade, I made an emergency visit to the doctor. In addition the the regular injury site, I now had pain that traveled up to my knee.

The doctor said that there was potential that I had CRPS from my initial injury (complex regional pain syndrome) and sent me for physical therapy again, with a focus on this. We made another follow up appointment a month from that visit, and I really pushed myself through physical therapy. On a positive note, the pain that traveled up my leg was going away a lot with treatment, and I felt stronger, but the pain persisted in my ankle.

At my next appointment, the doctor said she was happy that the CRPS was starting to go down, and said she wanted to me to have a full three months to give the PRP treatment a chance, and sent me back to physical therapy. She said that perhaps the next appointment, I can do another MRI and we will talk about more options.

More Active Days Exploring Acadia National Park In Maine With My Husband

This leads me to today with you all, and writing this post. This injury has really impacted my life in a lot of ways, and I honestly can not deny this fact anymore. I was a competitive athlete in my youth and early twenties, and eventually even trained others as an athletic coach in my late twenties, early thirties (I am now thirty four.)  When Covid-19 hit, my facility shut down for a long time. With these circumstances, I started to pursue my dream of writing with the extra time on this blog. I went from being extremely active to not walking at all for significant amounts of time. I have to say, it is shocking to me that I spent years in a high impact sport without major injuries, and yet it was a hole in the ground that got me.

Right now, I can walk a little more (usually 5-7 minutes) and then I need to rest up a bit. The good thing is that after a minute or two I can usually go another 5-7 minutes, but I would love to be able to get back to normalcy in life and be able to do my day to day activities without significant pain. I honestly felt a little nervous about sharing all of this, but I know that there are other people probably going through the same thing, and maybe this can help in some way.

Some ways that I have remained positive were making progress charts, keeping detailed medical records, doing my best to implement plans from my doctors and physical therapists, writing, journaling, working, listening to optimistic music, reading (I will link one of my favorites at the bottom of this post), talking to family and friends, and knowing that every movement forward is indeed something to be really grateful for.

Our mindset and outlook are very important in the whole realm of health, and just celebrating even the small victories are so important. If you have or are dealing with an injury or anything like that, just know that you are not alone. Personally, I know it can be tough to tell others about things like this, but it is totally okay to have a supportive network and community. Keep talking to your doctors as well, and if you feel like something is up, make sure that you let them know. It is a good thing to advocate for yourself and your health.

So if you take away anything from this, please, please, please do not run into groundhog holes! (Just joking, but seriously look out for stuff like this especially if you are walking in a rural area that is new to you.) In all seriousness though, we are all going through different things, and I hope that this post helps keep your perspective in an encouraging light. Remember, any progress is indeed progress!!!

I hope that you all are having a wonderful day, and remember to click that subscribe button!

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