For those of you with ankle injuries, you may be able to relate to my prolonged ankle injury adventure.

So, how does it all begin? One day you are running and playing your sport with no issues at all. You are at the top of your game, and loving every moment! And then, in an instant, you can feel that all come crumbling down. (Or at least this is how I felt).

The Cause of Injury:

During the first week of soccer practice in my Junior year of college, the incident happened. We were participating in this silly drill that I thoroughly disliked, and apparently, the drill disliked me too (haha). As I sprinted towards the goal and then turned in order to block an oncoming shot, I immediately recognized my mistake, but it was too late. Because I used my left foot as my plant foot in order to pivot for the turn, I then foolishly stuck out my right foot in order to block the shot.

Now, this would not have been an issue if the ball was coming to the right side of my body. However, it was to the left, and so I stretched my right leg over my left in order to awkwardly block the shot. While doing this, I forgot to “lock” my ankle. So, when the impact happened, my ankle twisted and my foot hyperextended in the most awkward motion.

Let me first say that I successfully blocked the shot, but via the worst way possible. I screeched. Even when I broke my wrist (twice) playing soccer or partially tore a knee ligament, I did not yell this loudly. The pain was excruciating and I immediately knew I was done for the season. As I tried to place my throbbing right foot on the ground, I winced even more. It was impossible. I literally could not touch anything without crying in pain, nor could I move my ankle and foot. Worst of all, this was the last year I would be playing with my best friend (as center midfielders) who would be graduating that year.

So, that’s my story as to how the injury originally occurred. I am sure that many of you soccer players out there may have experienced a similar situation, and if so, I wish you the best and quickest recovery! I understand how frustrating it can really be. That said, the most frustrating parts for me were yet to come.

 

The Diagnosis:

Although it would be lovely for all doctors to correctly diagnose injuries, unfortunately, this is not always the case. Because practice was late at night, I waited until the next morning to see the doctor. Firstly, I went to the campus doctors, who then sent me to the hospital for x-rays. I was then told that my ankle appeared to be intact, with no broken bones. Thus, I was instructed to begin physical therapy.


Post Injury:

During the first 2 weeks, I used crutches and wore a ProCare lace-up brace. The doctor diagnosed me with an ankle sprain. But, when I began physical therapy, I noticed that certain movements were impossibly painful, and just flat out impossible as my ankle would give-out from under me.

So, I would like to take a moment here to further explain the situation before continuing with my healing process. If you think that something is wrong, speak up. You know yourself better than anyone, and especially if you have had injuries before. For instance, I had an ankle sprain in high school and so I strongly felt that there was a distinctive difference between that injury and the one I am describing. I knew there was something wrong here, but when I told the therapists repeatedly, they simply ignored me. My issue was that the back of my ankle and heel, where the

My issue was that the back of my ankle and heel, where the achilles tendon lies, was absolutely killing me. I could not step onto my tippy-toes without feeling a stabbing pain in the back of my ankle. Furthermore, it was absolutely impossible to wear any sort of heel, this included the baby wedge on combat boots. That would cause extreme pain and my ankle would give-way. Unfortunately, the university doctors ignored my constant complaints and desire to re-evaluate the injury.

Thus, when I returned home for winter break, I attended my orthopedic doctor there, and I am so glad I did! He immediately heard and felt the clicking and grinding of my bones in the back of my ankle, and understood the problem.

He diagnosed me with the Os Trigonum Syndrome. Some people are born with an extra bone in the back of their ankle that can become inflamed due to injury. However, it is also possible to break off part of your ankle bone that can then lead to this syndrome as the floating bone lies in the posterior of the ankle. In my case, we are unsure as to whether it broke off or if I was born with it.

 

Ankle Treatment:

Unfortunately for this injury, you need to first take non-intrusive measures in order to see if it can heal on its own.

  1. Therefore, I was given a walking boot to wear for 2 weeks while taking Prednisone to reduce the inflammation around the bone. This did not work.
  2. Next, I had an MRI done in April in order to see if it was healing and why my pain was not getting any better.
  3. The MRI revealed a bone floating in the back of my ankle. It was very inflamed and I also had some irritated tissue. Thus, the doctor told me that I also had a high ankle sprain, but that that had been healing okay on its own.
  4. The next step was to try a cortisone shot directly to that floating bone. THIS WAS SO PAINFUL. I cannot stress enough how ridiculously painful this was! This shot literally made my ankle hurt so much worse for the first 2 weeks following the shot. Then, the shot seemed to work and helped alleviate some pain. However, at this point, I still had not been able to wear any type of heel, nor play soccer to my full potential. If I wanted to workout, I had to always wear my ProCare ankle brace.
  5. The only solution to fix the problem was surgery at this point. However, I would be leaving the country for a 6-month long internship, and so I could not get my surgery done until after I would return. During those months abroad, I played some soccer, but with caution and always while wearing the lace-up ankle brace.
  6. Upon my return, my ankle was beginning to feel worse and worse. I was getting, even more, shooting pain and new tingling pain that would radiate throughout my entire foot. Additionally, the side of my ankle began to hurt as well. It was clearly getting worse.
  7. Before scheduling surgery, I needed to take another x-ray and MRI to see if anything had changed. Sure enough, things changed. I had, even more, inflammation in my ankle, but not just around the floating bone. Instead, the inflammation spread to the side and top of my ankle as well. The doctor explained that this was due to my ankle trying to compensate for the injured part for almost 2 years.
  8. On July 12, 2017, I finally had my ankle surgery! The original injury occurred in September 2015.
  9. They removed my bone and any scarred tissue. Apparently, my bone was fairly large, which made it especially painful whenever I walked because I have such small feet (size 36eur or 5.5/6usa).
  10. This was the quickest recovery from surgery I could ever imagine! During the first week, I used crutches and had my ankle constantly wrapped and wearing a walking boot. In the second week I was allowed to slowly begin walking without crutches, but with the walking boot. I also was able to take off all bandaging. Within 3-4 weeks I was told to begin wearing my normal shoes again! It felt great!!
  11. Almost 2 months later and my ankle is still a bit stiff and swollen, but it feels much better. I can finally stand on my tippy-toes and wear a heel! I also started running and playing soccer. However, I am taking it slowly because my ankle does still hurt and becomes sore when I try to really exert myself.

I am so happy to finally have fixed the problem! After 2 long years, I finally feel like I can get back to being my active, athletic self. I also missed playing soccer to my fullest potential, and that was frustrating. Furthermore, I can finally wear heels again! Although I am not much of a girly girl, I definitely missed being able to wear boots with a heel or even just a nice heel to a formal party or wedding.

So, after all this time, I am finally feeling like my normal self! Following my experience, I cannot stress enough how important it is to really listen to how your body feels. You know yourself best and deserve the help of doctors that truly listen to you. Also, if surgery really is your only option, don’t worry, the sooner you get it done, the quicker you will get to full recovery!

All in all, if you are suffering from a similar sports related injury, I wish you the best and healthiest recovery!

Dem

 

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