It’s time for another ankle update (read the background if you’re unfamiliar). A bit more optimistic than usual…
Before I moved from London, I’d been seeing an NHS physiotherapist who prescribed some stretches and strength exercises to help my ankle. It’s been over a year since I started seeing him and there’s been no improvement. In fact, things have gotten worse, with my ankle causing me almost constant dull pain, particularly on the outside above my ankle bone and on top of my foot, even if I’m not walking or running, and shaper pain if I twist my ankle the wrong way.
I registered with a GP here in Oaksey, who said I’d have to wait 6 weeks for him to get my paperwork from London and decide where to go from there. I was sick of working the system, free as it may be.
Thinking back over the last 5 years of ankle bullsh!t, I would happily have paid thousands of pounds to have a pain-free ankle again. I hate to sound like an old fart, but those were the last 5 years of my 20′s, and I’ll never have them back!
So, as my mind toiled over private healthcare, the stars seemed to be aligning in this direction. I was talking about my ankle with a friend at a party, when a women introduced herself who turned out to be an NHS physiotherapist. She kindly listened to my saga, and when I said “I haven’t run in years because of this” she passionately exclaimed “Don’t give up! You must never give up! See as many people as it takes!”
Maybe she was just doing her bit to bring her physio friends more business, but even so, she got to me. The next day I found a physio in my area and made an appointment for that week. I saw this physio twice, but he didn’t really “feel right.” So I posted a message in the Runners World forum asking for physio recommendations in my area. Someone came back with PhysioPlus in Chippenham.
I had my first appointment with “Andrew” yesterday and I’ve gotta say: he could be the one. The guy basically gave me a once over – had me run and walk on a treadmill, felt all my muscles from my legs up to my neck (and asked, unprompted, “do you get headaches?” which I do, horrible ones, about 2-3 times per week, “cuz you should – you’re hard as a rock up here”), he looked at my feet, tested my flexibility, and so on. He discovered a few things:
- My back muscles are extremely tense, which could be causing pinched nerves sending pain down my legs
- My left arch is slightly dropped, which is causing more pinching on the tendons in my ankle
- My left hip is extremely tight, possibly due to my legs being slightly uneven in length
- When I walk, I don’t spend very much time coming off my left toe
So he did this thing where he basically twisted and stretched my back, then massaged my hip, and I instantly felt relief in the outer part of my ankle and calve. He prescribed me some stretches to do and I’m to try retraining myself in “how to walk”, making sure I follow through on my left foot, rather than hopping quickly off the toe (not sure if this makes sense to you, but I get it).
Until this point, I thought that the source of all of my ankle problems were in the ankle itself. But now I see that my entire body is at play here, and I need to work on my hips, butt and back as much as I do my ankle. Amazing how the body works together to build (and break) itself with every move.
My next appointment is in a week, where he’s going to do more work on my back and neck. I can’t wait, especially if this can solve my headaches, too. He’s also referred me to a podiatrist in the NHS who can look at my feet and determine if I need insoles.
What’s really exciting is that the physio thinks in three weeks or so I might be able to start running again. THAT would make VERY happy. I think one of the reasons that SmarterFitter has moved from a fitness blog to a food blog is because I feel sort of crippled from doing the “fit” stuff I want to do. I want to run, but I can’t, so I get down about it, and bake a cake. Now if I could both run AND bake cake, now that would be the life.