Throwback Thursday: A Tale of the First (in a long line of) Ankle Injury

Since it’s been a week of injury, I thought I’d recount the tale of how I first acquired one of my most persistent and annoying injuries: my short-on-functioning-ligaments ankle.  I would recount the origins of my current SI injury, but sadly I can’t even remember which of the many trail runs and falls caused it.  And so, ankle story it is!  We can all celebrate the wonder of human body parts and their ability to totally crap out on us in the strangest of ways.

There is also a very important moral to this injury story, which is as follows:

Injuries are not always acquired in glamorous ways, nor do they give us stories that we are proud to tell.  No, sometimes our most persistent of injuries have their roots in the most mundane of activities. 

With that out of the way, let us begin.

I think I’ve mentioned that I’ve sprained one of my ankles quite a few times.  Well, it’s been nine to be exact. Yes, nine. I’m not hopelessly clumsy, though it may appear that way. Apparently, once the ligaments start to stretch , ankles will just keep on rollin’. Mine turns if I hit a pebble the wrong way. It’s rather impressive. It no longer swells, hurts, or bruises when I sprain it. At first I thought that was a good thing, a sign that I had developed superhuman ankles, until one of my many physiotherapists said it’s essentially because about 10% of my ligaments are functioning normally. I like the way my physiotherapists have a knack for sharing sobering thoughts.

But once upon a time my ankle was still going 100% strong. That was back in the year 2000 (hopefully someone out there appreciates the link to that gem), or at least somewhere around the year 2000 because who actually documents these things? Regardless of exact timing, let me recount the ridiculously short and simple incident which has triggered nearly 2 decades worth of ankle trauma.

It all started out at UBC, one evening when I was sitting outside of Fairview Townhomes, eating some sort of frozen treat on a stick while talking to a dear friend.  I got up to throw away my popsicle stick and made a very ungraceful attempt to jump from the parking lot to the sidewalk. In the process, I tripped over one of those short, concrete parking blocks and my ankle folded over in a way no ankle should.

Yes, that is the entire story.  One moment of miscalculated distance and an attempt to save mother Earth really can lead to a lifelong injury.  Of course, I was also woefully ignorant of what to do with such an injury. It never occurred to me to see a doctor or physiotherapist, and there was certainly no RICE-ing it. In fact, though the bruising and swelling were truly a spectacular sight, and though the pain was quite substantial, I continued to walk on it as if there were no problem at all.

Who knows what would be different if I’d had the foresight to seek medical attention. I rarely take the time to ponder that.  Instead, I spend my time pondering what it would be like to have an infinitely cooler story to explain the injury. Like what would it be like if I had sprained my ankle fighting off and then outrunning a grizzly bear, escaping it only by throwing my injured body into a raging river and somehow grabbing onto the one tree trunk making its way down the river to keep myself afloat. Now that would be a story that would make an injury easier to swallow.


2 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: A Tale of the First (in a long line of) Ankle Injury”

  1. All my chronic injuries have boring stories too. Mostly stupid things like, “I ran a half marathon and then spent a week walking around Disney world in unsupportive, flat shoes, and then I kept running on a tendinitis-afflicted knee for YEARS afterward.” Like, duh. Very few of us are lucky (unlucky?) enough to have fun stories to go along with aches and pains. Hope your ankle is on the up and up 16 years later!


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