A little background here… I’ve had pain in my left ankle on and off for the past four years. It started during my training for the Nike Run London 10k in 2004, went away for a while, then came back again while training for a half marathon in 2005, and again while trying to hike the coast to coast in 2006. Since then it’s been an ongoing ache that’s kept me from running or doing any long-distance trekking. Read: MAJOR BUMMER. One good thing came out of it: I started swimming lots.
Then last August I started getting pain in my right shin while swimming freestyle which eventually got bad enough to keep me from swimming and walking altogether.
As far as tragedies go, mine isn’t so bad in the grand scheme of things. Still, it’s pretty damn frustrating and I finally decided to do something about it, especially now that I’m living in a country with free public health care (yay UK!).
Last week I went to my first ever physiotherapist session. Although I was a little cynical about the whole thing, it turned out to be an interesting trip and way more useful than I hoped.
- My left ankle is more pronated than my right
- My left ankle has much more range of motion than my right, almost as if I’d broken or rolled it in the past
- It is likely that the way I’ve been compensating for the funny ankle has led to the shin splints
- My calves and hamstrings are extremely tight, aggravating both the ankle and the shin splints
To deal with my janky left food, the physio referred me to a foot specialist for some insoles. He also said I needed to loosen my calves and hams and strengthen my butt. This is when I had some good news. After running me through some exercises to test my butt-strength, he said I was “plenty strong” and didn’t need to do any extra exercises. Happy is the girl with a tight ass!
But the calves and hams need to loooosen up (don’t we all?).
He started with some deep tissue massage which was REALLY painful and left me with a nasty bruise! But my leg actually felt better afterwards so I guess that’s a good thing?
I am supposed to do the massage on my own for 5 minutes every other day, followed by icing for 10 minutes.
He also prescribed a series of stretches to repeat twice a day for 30-seconds of each stretch.
I hope the physio is not a quack and that all this stuff will sort me out. I go back in two weeks. Until then, I will stretch, massage, ice, rest and try not to go stir crazy.