I have been running most days and was beginning to come on quite well with it and enjoy it but I recently sprained my ankle, it seemed to recover quite well and it didn't hurt when I ran, just occasionally when it bent awkwardly. I carried on running on it which perhaps wasn't wise but as it didn't seem to cause me much trouble when I ran I thought it was healing ok. However, this weekend I seemed to re-hurt it again, it wasn't whilst running but I'm wondering now what I should be doing with regards to resting it.
I obviously want to keep exercising, and I need to if I want to carry on losing weight but I don't want to injure myself any more. What would you suggest?
Injury management is a crucial part of training effectively as the body is smarter then we realise and is always sending us clear messages of any problems. The thing is, we, as humans, aren't very good at listening to our bodies and lifestyles, goals etc get in the way. First thing is if its hurting when you run (i.e. impact) then don?t run as it will only get worse and you will further increase the risk of more serious, long-term damage.
With ankle sprains the action involved with the occurrence of that injury really stresses the lower leg musculature, tendons but most importantly the ligaments around the ankle. The role of ligaments in the body is to connect bone to bone and provide stability. They are therefore not as elastic as muscles and tendons and also have a reduced and in fact, pretty non-existent blood supply. The reason this is important is because once a ligament gets injured it heals really badly and much slower then other structures! If you create more damage to the already stressed ligaments, through continued running, hopefully you can see the long-term issue!
The first thing is you need rehab for that ankle. Only resting it is only half the solution and it will not solve the newly acquired vulnerability and weakness you now have in that ankle. You will need to retrain the nervous system (control mechanism) to that ankle and for that you will need to be given specific rehab programming which you could get via a physio, personal trainer (no lower then level 3) or a corrective exercise specialist. It is very straight forward so if you have a family member or friends in the rehab industry get their advice/guidance.
Avoid doing what causes pain, (sounds obvious!), but we often work through pain and I strongly advise in this case you DON?T! Choose non-impact cardiovascular training for a period of time while the ligaments recover, i.e. cycling, swimming, resistance training for core and upper body and leg exercises like squats to a pain-free range of motion.
As long as you are physically active enough, and exercising via a pain-free method, together with a sensible calorie intake, then you will continue to lose weight and a minor break from running can prove positive because change is very powerful and beneficial for the body.
The specialist you see will assess the degree of damage, (level of sprain), you have and rehab you accordingly to get you back to pain-free running as soon as possible and with stronger ankles long-term to prevent reoccurrence and the risk of new injuries.
Hope this helps
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