Over two weeks ago, I decided to take the trash out, a chore I have done hundreds of times before without much thought about how to get it from the kitchen to outside the backdoor. This time, I should have paid closer attention.
The full trash bag in my hand hid the fact that I had only stepped down 4, and not five, steps. After a less than graceful pirouette on my toes (having never had a dance class), I burst backside first through the backdoor and landed flat on my back, the bag of trash still firmly in my grip.
I sat up to assess the damage. As the initial rush of adrenaline wore off, I scanned everything: no pain in my head, neck, or back- surprising since I fell on a rocky surface. I felt a little pain in my right knee, but it did not compare to the pain I felt in the puffy, purpley-red pillow forming around my left ankle and foot.
I knew my ballet debut through the backdoor caused me to most likely sprain my ankle, but I feared that I had broken something as well. After getting a lot of help and concern from my husband and son, I made it back up the stairs and onto the sofa to apply ice and elevate my increasingly puffy and purple foot. When necessary, I travelled around the house the best I could on my desk chair. There was no way I was going to stand on that foot in this condition.
A trip to to Urgent Care and an x-ray the next day confirmed my fear: I had a spiral fracture in the long bone under my little toe. While fractures could be a crack or a straight break in a bone, a spiral fracture is caused by a twisting force, and the break resembles the uneven diagonal break of a pencil split in half. Surgery is the most common treatment for this type of fracture.
To my surprise, and an answer to many-a-prayer, I was told that surgery was not necessary. It was going to be a long 8-week process of keeping the foot and ankle immobile inside of an orthopedic boot, with any necessary movement made possible with crutches or knee scooter. For someone who can not sit still longer than a few minutes, this was a tall order, but I did it: I sat as still as I could with the foot elevated, rode around on my knee scooter, learned how to use crutches, applied ice packs, took ibuprofen, and was extremely careful.
Going into my first check-up at two weeks, I knew I was doing better but wasn’t sure how much better. Afterall, I had never broken a bone before. Did that little step I took off the bed mess up the whole healing process for the bone?
Actually, no, it did not. In fact, I was told I should be placing weight on my heal, walking around in the boot, and doing exercises. Walking??! Exercises??! This sounded completely crazy, considering I was a candidate for surgery days before. The doctor assured me it was necessary to heal and strengthen the bone, plus to prevent a rare case of blood clots. I believed movement and weight bearing were important for the healing process, but I never had to apply this to my own foot and ankle. Honestly, I was nervous.
I have never been completely immobilized by an injury before, faced with regaining strength and mobility lost while letting an injury heal over a period of weeks; nor have I ever been asked to exercise while being limited by a serious injury. What better time for me, as an Urban Poling instructor, to test first hand the benefits of UP Nordic walking poles and techniques? Join me in this series of blogs as I apply Urban Poling techniques and equipment to my recovery. Can Activator poles help me move beyond my crutches so I can enjoy taking a walk again? Could they help you, or someone you know with limited mobility, enjoy walking again? Stay tuned for the next chapter!
I would love to hear about your experience with recovering from injuries. I am using Urban Poling techniques for my recovery. What have you used in your recovery? Please subscribe to this blog to comment. You can find out more about me, Penny, and my company Healthy Penny's Wellness at healthypennyswellness.com.