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frazzled and bedazzled
Calling All Medical Professionals. Or Witches. Hell, I Don't Care so Long as it Can Help.
I believe it was about 4 years ago this month that I went to the gym on a Saturday morning prepared to undertake my routine at that time – abs class, step class, Zumba class, then weightlifting – and came home in wretched pain instead thanks to tripping and spraining my ankle during step class. The excruciating pain I felt at that time helped me sympathize with my husband when he broke his ankle over the summer, though thanks to allergies I had to endure it with no pain relievers while he had the benefit of morphine. (Though when comparing the pain of a sprain with no medicine and a break with liberal use of morphine, you probably get to about the same place). But eventually it healed, and approximately 18 months later that ankle felt strong enough that I could stop wrapping my ankle while working out.

It was maybe a week after I stopped wrapping the right ankle when I noticed that my left ankle was hurting. I figured it was probably due to the fact that it had an extra load to bear for 18 months and didn’t think much more about it – assuming it would self-correct relatively quickly since things were mostly normal with the right ankle again. It kept hurting, though, and I came to realize one thing that seemed to really set it off was Zumba classes by one particular instructor. She had a lot of bouncing in her choreography and thanks to the fact that she was teaching her own class plus subbing for another instructor, for a period of a few months I had been taking her classes 2-3 times a week. Once in a while it would hurt during class, but mostly I’d be filled with endorphins and adrenaline while class was in progress, then come down to earth with a jolt about an hour after it was done. I finally realized that because I couldn’t hold back during class, even though I adored that instructor, I was going to have to stop going to her classes.

However, by that point, the damage was done. I have had to wrap my left ankle for working out ever since. Every once in a while I will think it’s ready to go without that support and will not use the wrap. I can feel the difference immediately after class is over and end up going back to the wrap again for a few more months. Mostly, though, it’s relatively normal so long as I wear heels in moderation and use the right kind of shoes for walking and other exercise.

Last week-end I was in downtown Portland and parked approximately 10 blocks from my target area. The city has purposefully limited parking availability to encourage people to use mass transit, which is fine except for the fact that there isn’t really a mass transit option for most of the suburbs on the week-ends when a lot of people to go downtown for shopping, restaurants, some sporting events, and club hopping. But to me, walking 10 blocks in downtown Portland is not really a big deal so I didn’t think anything of it. As I told a friend who was complaining one time when we walked the 3 block distance from one club to another: I’ve walked a lot farther for a burrito. (It was a really good burrito.)

On the way to my appointment I was mostly focused on how freaking cold it was and though there were a few twinges in the left ankle, it wasn’t bad. On the way back to my car later, I came to fear I wouldn’t actually make it – my ankle got more and more painful with every step. I had to apply ice and keep it elevated for the remainder of Saturday.

The thing is: I don’t get it. There was no real event like how I sprained my right ankle that I can point to and realize, “oh, right, because of that”. It really strikes me as bizarre that bouncing around in some exercise classes 2-3 years ago would cause the kind of damage that could last this long, far longer than a really awful sprain. And it seems so random when it acts up. There was no pain at all when I worked out last week, so why would walking a relatively benign distance a day later be so troublesome?

All I know now is that it’s swollen and painful for seemingly no reason. It just…started hurting. Really hurting. On Sunday I was prepping food for the week, baking and cooking and chopping to make meals easier to prepare later on, and I had to elevate the ankle every so often just to get through the day. It made for a really long day doing something I hate, and in the end I didn’t have time to even touch other fun chores like cleaning the bathroom.

It’s really hard for me to sit in my chair at work for the whole day, but I had to yesterday because even trips for beverage refills hurt like the devil. Even with so little time on my feet yesterday, it absolutely ached through the night. It looks like it’ll be more of the same today.

It’s so stinking frustrating! And best I can tell after the many, many consultations we’ve had thanks to my husband’s situation, the things I’ve been doing like wrapping it for exercise and using ice and elevation for swelling are the best cures. Anti-inflammatory medicines like acetaminophen do help quite a lot, but I can’t take them. So I guess I just get to endure? I don’t like that option, though I don’t know what else I can do.

Any ideas?

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