San Diego: Surf, Sand, and Sprains
I had big dreams. Big ideas. Big plans for a week of running along the SoCal coastline from San Diego, through Dana Point, up to LA. And well, I just didn’t get too far. After giving up on the chance of a weekend workout in favor of brunching, beaching, and dancing the night away with my very best girlfriends I knew I was in for a grueler on Monday morning.
These types of runs always start the same way….thinking to myself, I reeeaaallllyyy don’t want to run, but I have to get one in while I’m here. Then I find myself distracted on the run, feeling extra slow and cranky, and on this one - eventually missing a pothole that decided to take my ankle down. F&%ker.
Runners are determined individuals - but it’s important to stop when something like this happens to assess the injury without frustration or adrenaline clouding your judgment. Here are a few tips to get you back on your feet quickly:
1. React in the moment & rule out serious injury
If you go down, find a curb or somewhere to sit down and take a few deep breaths to calm your adrenaline that’s kicking in.
Take note of the areas that were impacted and/or where you feel pain.
Look for any immediate swelling or discoloration - if either of these occur instantaneously, I recommend calling someone to pick you up, instead of trying to make it home on your own.
Once you’ve calmed yourself, try to stand up and take a few steps…Can you walk? If so, great make your way home slowly. If not, call a buddy. Either way, go home. Don’t push it.
This is where running with phone comes in handy - you’ll have easy access to call a friend and will typically have a running/GPS app that can help you determine your location.
Another option is to run with cash on you so you can hop in a cab (this is always a good idea).
2. Respect the healing process
Again, don’t push it. As a runner, missing a few days (or weeks) of workouts won’t undo all the good you’ve already done for your body by working out regularly. If you go back too early and don’t let yourself heal properly you run the risk of hurting yourself even further in the future.
3. Manage pain and swelling
RICE = rest, ice, compression, elevation. This, in conjunction with NSAIDS (aspirin, Advil, etc) will help reduce pain and swelling and is crucial in the first 48-72 hours. I’m doing this as we speak - even a week later - to try to get rid of the last bit of stubborn swelling.
4. Restore range of movement, control, and strength
There is no doubt we get thrown off balance when faced with an injury. Focus on starting back with workouts that don’t require full body weight on your ankle (like swimming, cycling, pilates) and aim to restore your ankle range while gaining your strength and balance back. You can find some good recovery exercises here.