Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I have been here before and I thought I had moved on but it appears I have those fundamental questions yet again dancing in my head:
  • When is it stupid to run with pain?
  • Should you run through the pain of a sprained ankle?
I don't mean right when you first injure an ankle, I always try to run through those, granted I am usually miles from nowhere so that may be more of a "what else do you do?". No, I mean days and weeks afterwards. When should you start running? Should you really wait to be pain free? What does pain free mean anyway?

I sprained my right ankle back in mid January (it was the second time in 5 months). This time it was a traditional sprain, a right side rollover with a really neat wipe out into the snow. I am still having issues, last time it was a weird sprain so after I got it properly diagnosed I was slightly better (mentally) about having to take some time off. I was still pretty surly about it but I least felt less like a wimp. That one took 12 weeks, this one is at 5 weeks. I believe I would be remiss to not point out what my wife would be quick to note, how many days or weeks did you take off? She usually would add something else like "Why do you insist on being stupid"? To the second comment, that may be just my nature, the first part of the comment I can answer.

I took 8 days off and I did ice it regularly, I took ibuprofen (which I don't normally do), then I ran 4 miles, iced it, took off 4 more days, ran 5.5 miles, iced it, took off 2 days, ran 10.5 miles, iced it, took off 2 days, ran 5 miles, took off 2 days ran 4 then 12 then tried to resume normal running the last couple of weeks.

So my past 4 weeks mileage is: 4, 16, 21, 30 and I was (am) planning on 35 miles for this week with a long run of 15 to 16.

I started to run last night, I was going to run in Lebanon Hills, but I forgot a coat and I thought I would need one, yes it would probably have been pretty stupid to run in snow anyway so it was probably good I forgot the coat. I was going to run after church tonight but decided to instead ice the ankle and give it an extra day. The ankle does bug me on stairs, when starting and stopping, it is now more of a nuisance pain with an occasional sharp pain when it seems to catch for lack of a better phrase when I start to walk or change direction. Just a sharp pain that subsides in a few more steps. I think this is just because it's still a little swollen, I know I can run on it for a while but the pain does seem to increase as the distance grows.

So what would you do? Run or rest?

I thought about phrasing it more like "what should I do?". Except that I know I will run tomorrow and then push myself to get in the runs over the weekend, why, well, good question for someone other than me to answer.

Sorry to post yet again about a running injury, but I needed to just document another episode with me running through an injury. One day I will go back, read these posts and maybe learn from them, you have to believe that you will one day learn from your mistakes.

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."--Thomas A. Edison

So maybe I have not failed. I've just found 20 ways that won't work or did I just use the wrong quote and instead should I have used one of my favorites?

"Stupid is as Stupid does." -- Forrest Gump


Karyn said...

Well, actually I don't say you are doing something stupid, I say, "why do you insist on sabatoging yourself?"

Just reminding you what I've been told when I've had sprained ankles - the better you take care of it (RICE) in the first 48-72 hours the quicker it will heal.

And, if it feels better as you run, it's ok to run through the pain but if it hurts more the longer you run - problem!! (Though I wouldn't expect your ultra-running friends to support me on that one :) - you guys thrive on pain!

wildknits said...

Hmmm... is it wrong to agree with Karyn? Westy - are you using compression as well as ice? Alternating ice and heat? May get more benefit from that in the long run. Thought about taping the ankle (bracing) before running? I had a bad sprain a year or two ago during soccer season and learned a nifty taping method that made it possible for me to still play (okay - I can see Karyn shaking her head now). But - the ankle did heal. Just needed that extra support. It was a bit labor intensive to do the taping (and a partner willing to do the work really helps) but if made such a difference!

Mike said...

Karyn - Thanks for the correction on sabotage vs stupid as well as the other advice.

Lisa - I was using a wrap for the first few weeks but have not used heat. I think it is healing just slower than I would like, I may run with the wrap for the next few weeks and see if that helps.

Londell said...

The key is, find another activity as it heals. Staying active is the most important. Does it hurt on a bike? Swimming? Good luck with it...


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