Anklegate: It started in March of 2011 when I was training for a half marathon. My left foot and ankle decided to team up to be one major hassle that would haunt me. I'd think it was better after seeing one podiatrist. Insoles. Then it came back. Then I saw the podiatrist again. Didn't get help, so went to an orthopaedic surgeon. Walking boot followed by more rest. Then it came back. Back to orthopaedic surgeon with no help. Called on second orthopaedic surgeon. Cast. Walking boot again. Custom orthotics. Six months of physical therapy.
The pain has never gone away completely. It comes by and says hello after about 2 miles of walking and after doing random things like, uh, sleeping. It stays at a pretty regular level of swollen, and if it's angry, it gets mega swollen. Not fun.
Last week, I visited my fourth doctor in pursuit of a pain-free ankle. She's a podiatrist here in Lexington and came highly recommended. I took in my 2 pairs of fancy insoles along with my long list of things I've done to treat this sucker (aka Posterior Tibial Tendinitis). We talked at length and she did an ultrasound of my tendon – something no other doctor has done up to this point:
The black line I drew arrows at is my posterior tibial tendon. The white around it is all the inflammation. This was done on a day where I had minimal swelling (comparatively). At different parts of the ultrasound, you could only see the inflammation.
She explained that my foot isn't getting the support it needs to keep my arch and inside of my foot in the proper spot. So, we're on mission: straighten out this friggin' ankle!
I was taped for a few days, and am now wearing a compression sock pretty much all the time to keep the swelling down. I'm wearing a night splint 1 hour per day on each foot (I need to get both feet flexed further), and when I work out or am up for a while, I'm wearing an ankle brace that has two plastic sticks along each side. I also have a different type of stiff custom orthotic being made that I will start wearing in about 3 weeks. I've had to leave my precious Merrell Pace Glove (barefoot) shoes for now to go back to my Brooks Ariels, which are super stable. I'm also taking a prescription anti-inflammatory and icing my ankle after each workout. She also suggested a weekly massage to work on loosening up the muscle fibers in my legs. You think I'd be jumping for joy at that, but I'm not really a massage-type of person. But I did go get one this week.
For the first time in a long time, I feel hopeful about this. Dr. Freels spent more time with me than any of my previous doctors, and seems really eager to help me get this thing taken care of for good. The best part? I don't have to alter my training schedule! That was the worst part of everything during the rest of anklegate – not being able to really exercise outside of the pool. It was obviously a physical roadblock, but was more mentally draining than anything.
Anyway, onto Tabata Style!
You know those days where you're laying in bed or hanging out on the sofa and the thought of going to the gym makes you want to crawl under a blanket and scream “I don't wanna, and you can't make me?!?!” I pulled one of those on Saturday. Thankfully, I told myself my only job for the day was to go do my workout. Funny how the hardest part sometimes is just getting from your couch to your car. So much unnecessary dragging involved.
After the workout?
We did a Tabata style workout, which is just what I needed. Tabata is doing high intensity for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and repeat the high intensity 8 times (so 4 minutes total). Between Tabatas you can get water and try to catch your breath before it's on to the next one. I say “Tabata style” because a true Tabata means you have 170% of your VO2 max during the 20 second spurts. No way did we get that high.
Tabata 1: Alternating side plank
Tabata 2: Front plank and glute bridges
Tabata 3: Medicine ball slams and wall sits
Tabata 4: Ropes and body weight squats
Happy post-workout tomato face!
This was a great reminder how you never regret a workout. No more kicking and screaming – just do it!
I am going to work on stretching with some new workouts online from FitnessGlo. Look for a review and giveaway coming before the end of the month!