One year ago today, I was walking out of my hotel in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, when I stepped wrong off the curb and completely screwed up my ankle, tearing multiple tendons and ligaments. I spent the next five months in braces of various sorts, had surgery, and learned that much of the problem was due to a low-hanging calf muscle which was crowding out the tendons and was summarily removed. By the end of it my right calf was pretty much completely atrophied (oh so floppy!) and walking on uneven ground was a chore. Shortly after being liberated from my final brace, I joined a new gym and got a new personal trainer to help me get back into shape without re-injuring myself (a bit of a tall order, knowing me).
It’s been a long process. First there was the painful rebuilding of my calf muscle and extensive work on my balance (which was never that stellar in the first place). A few months later I was finally able to run again in short bursts. Now I’m more or less back to my former ability, with the intention of continuing to move forward and improve.
My ankle still swells up from time to time, and I still get occasional pain (especially if the weather misbehaves), but all in all I’m pretty much healed. I can walk barefoot on uneven ground without any problem. I suspect much of my long recovery time was due to under-treatment at the very beginning (the ER declared it a “sprain,” gave me crutches, and sent me on my merry way), but since the surgery to repair the tendon also revealed the cause of a lifelong condition, I have no regrets.
But you can bet I’m extra careful when stepping off curbs now.