Friday, April 1, 2011

Ankle Update

I went to see the podiatrist today.

Diagnosis: Left ankle acute sprain of the anterior talofilbular ligament, Chronic lateral ankle instability

The great news: NO BREAKS!

After evaluating me, the podiatrist first said that I could resume running. RoadBunner's heart soars. (I had mentioned I had a marathon coming up on May 1) We continued talking and it came out that not moving it much the next two weeks would be best to let a tight scar on the damaged ligament form. RoadBunner's heart drops. She asked if I could stand not running for TWO MORE WEEKS. It is a little hard for me to not run since she said my ankle could take it, but I want this to resolve long term as much as possible. So I am not going to run for two more weeks. Gah.

I am definitely downgrading my race distance at Big Sur. It is a blow but the race will be there next year. If Big Sur was my 52nd marathon of a 52 marathon streak year, I would get it done, but it is nothing of the sort so I'm playing it safe.

I did a two-for at the podiatrist today because my orthotics have been showing some wear and tear. I got them in 2006 and have worn them for every run ever since. Since I was in the office I had her evaluate them. The good news is that these $500+ suckers are still working good and she could replace the wearing softer bits. Also good news, since I'm not running anyway, I won't miss them. The last two months I've been dreading giving them up to have them resurfaced and not being able to run.

Goodbye, Old Friends. See you after the facelift.

We're doing a slightly different top to the orthotic that will have some cushioning so I'm excited about that. I always felt sad taking out the insole shoes come with and losing that layer of cushioning.

She diagnosed me with a chronic issue (previous ankle rolling has stretched and weakened the ligament) which means I am supposed to tape my ankle every time I run for the rest of my running life. Things could be much worse than this, but I find this terminal type of diagnosis sort of depressing. I'm going to start off both taping my ankle and wearing the ankle brace but I am hoping in maybe 6 months or so to wean off the brace. I'm sure I'll be tempted to stop taping down the road, but I'm going to try to remember how I had a relatively good year of not turning my ankle so seriously, and then BAM this happened.

She said that if I keep rolling it I could eventually experience a break or more serious damage which could necessitate surgery or end-game running. Surgery is an option if taping/bracing doesn't stop the rolling, but I am far from considering that at this point.

I think seeing your bones is pretty amazing so am including close ups of the films:

She said I have a nice amount of cartilage in my ankle there. Win?


Glenna said...

Bones really are kind of elegant, aren't they? So not horrible news--I'm happy for you! And I guess the taping will be second nature, and no worse than brushing your teeth.

naomi said...

this sounds like good news! nice to have a plan moving forward. perhaps you can do other stuff, like swim while you rest?

Rabbits' Guy said...

Good news - no break. Get on a Stationary bike/Elliptical? I think the main loss for two weeks will be your aerobic fitness. I bet your legs will like it!

(I guess you cold run in tight-lace Hi-tops!)

cliff said...

i don't know how she can diagnose your ligament issue just by an xray. wouldn't she need an mri or something more detailed before striking fear into you, like you'll never run again for the rest of your life?

Southbaygirl said...

ok lady.....if you need to wrap your ankle, use "vet wrap" it's thin and sticks to itself and you can get it at any pet store! I chose the cute pink color myself-you can get a wide variety of colors at any saddlery store (yep it's horse stuff) I'm sure you know it. Thats what my podiatrist wrapped my foot with FYI.

Now....I understand the weak tendons and ligaments issue. I have crappy ankles as well-used to roll my ankles in high school playing volleyball all the time-granted that was a few years ago......

I also had an issue a few years back, not sure if you ever knew about it, with my left foot.

I had been running in major pain for about 7 years...ok the pain started off slowly then as the years added up the pain would get worse. I ran anyway...but it reached a point where the pain was so bad and radiating up into my ankle that after a mile I would be in tears! I thought I'd ever run again!

I saw an orthopedic surgeon who gave me xrays, bone scans etc and said "nothing was wrong with my foot" - well screw that, I was not making up this pain! So I finally went to my podiatrist, actually a month before I was supposed to run the NYC marathon, as a last resort. He gave me a weight bearing xray (the first one I had EVER been given in the 7 years I had been dealing with this pain) and he shoved the xrays of both of my feet up and asked me "what do you see"...well, i saw my problem right in front of me-a big gap between my Big Toe and the next toe in my left foot. It seems for years, every time I planted my foot, my big toe was rolling away from the rest of my toes and foot. And it was getting worse. The reason-loose tendons and ligaments holding the big toe. He said he sees this injury alot in gymnasts-yeah I did gymnastics as a kid but now...ha ha ha just run on a large frame!

He said I had 3 choices:1) I could wrap my foot for the rest of my life with the vet wrap and that should alleviate the tendency for my Big Toe to roll away from my foot (I had spent 2 months with my foot wrapped and i was showing signs of improvement ie less pain) 2) I could have surgery and be out for 6 months-um...hell no or 3) i could try an alternative medicine called Prolotheraphy.

I chose to try Prolotheraphy:

Prolotherapy is also known as "proliferation therapy" or "regenerative injection therapy." ("Proliferative Injection Therapy") involves injecting an otherwise non-pharmacological and non-active irritant solution into the body, generally in the region of tendons or ligaments for the purpose of strengthening weakened connective tissue and alleviating musculoskeletal pain.[1]

well all I can say is after 10 sessions of prolotheraphy with my doctor in Los Angeles, I run PAIN FREE!!!! For me, it was a miracle and saved my running!! I had been running in pain for so long that I had no idea running could be pain free!

Alot of people dont believe in altenative medicine! I am a big believer and prolothraphy worked for me!!

It strengthened the ligaments and tendons in my left foot and stabilized my big toe-it no longer rolls away from my foot causing shooting pain up towards my ankle...

If you have weak tendons and ligaments in your ankle, this might be worth looking into!!

here are some websites:

and here is my doctors website:

feel free to contact him if you'd like, via email, and let him know you are a friend of Penny's....he's a rockstar! he;s had the procedure on himself (he ruptured L4 and L5) and he's a triathlete-so he's not a believer in giving up sports!

let me know if you have any questions....

Nicole said...

Yay good news!!! <3

Average A said...

Hooooray! Great news! :) :)

EndorphinBuzz said...

2 weeks is nothing to ensure a proper recovery but I hear you on how difficult it is to abstain :) I hope you heal fully and can return to normal programming soon...