Anyone that spends about 10 minutes with me immediately realises that sport is my major passion in life. However, more recently they will have noticed that I've spent most of the past 10 months limping due to an ankle injury.
2010 was pretty torrid for me in terms of injury. The year started promisingly. I was at football training once a week, running 4 times a week and was playing cricket and tennis on a regular basis. I felt grand, untouchable, in the best condition of my life. Then, disaster struck. One week in May, before my cricket team was scheduled to go to Singapore on tour, I seriously sprained my left ankle whilst trying to turn sharply at full speed. At first, my friends were laughing, but soon realised I was in a lot of pain and was potentially seriously hurt. More importantly, I was incredibly frustrated knowing that I was out of cricket and the Phuket half marathon which I had been training for.
I went straight to hospital and got it X-rayed. Fortunately it wasn't broken, but I had severely sprained it and was told I wouldn't be able to run on it for 3 months. No football, no tennis, no cricket and no running. I was allowed to swim, but I swim like a brick and don't like exposing my belly to the world so I reluctantly made my way to the swimming pool as often as I could as it was the only activity I wasn't prohibited to do.
After 9 weeks, I made my first error. I attempted a gentle jog. I managed all of about 10 yards before I felt sharp pains up my left leg. Being stubborn, I decided to run through it. 10 metres later it pretty much gave way so I figured I should give it a longer break. Over the course of the next month, first walking then jogging, I started limping around the sports field at work trying to build up my ankle's strength. And guess what?!! It started to work. Gradually the limp and discomfort subsided and I started to run much more freely. So what happened next?
Football! I started training again with the Raiders. I couldn't twist, turn or stop myself when sprinting, but I taped it up and just didn't try to do anything too fancy. For a month it was fine. That was until the end of rainy season. Now, for those of you who don't know, Ho Chi Minh City has 2 types of weather: hot and hot and wet. During rainy season it usually rains at about 3 or 5 pm like clockwork everyday. On this day (4 weeks before a 6 aside football tournament in the Philippines (yes the one in the previous posting!)) it rained during training. I knocked the ball around the opposing left back, went to cross the ball in with my right foot and my standing leg gave way. Needless to say I was limping again and my ankle swelled up.
This time I didn't go to hospital. I sat on the side of the pitch, iced my foot and prayed that I would be able to play in the forth coming tournament. I didn't run, took the weight off it as much as I could and appeared to make a swift recovery. In fact, I even started playing again (with strapping and heavy support) a week before and took full part in the tournament. This was perhaps brave and dumb, as although it hurt, I battled through the pain but potentially caused it more troubles.
After the tournament I rested it for a while. I joined the gym and used the treadmill to try to lessen the impact of road running. Again, I started to feel well again. I was also excited because my cricket team had a game against Australia (who unlike their professional counterparts have some Kiwis who can protect their wickets and bowl straight) and I was due to play for the first time in 8 months. To fit in with the tale, I went over on the ankle again in football training. This time, I thought, time for a proper examination.
I went to a well respected doctor, who after hearing my story ordered a CT scan, which is a 3d X-ray for those who don't know. The scan showed I have tightening of the muscles and ligaments due to multiple sprains and because of an old ankle fracture I had when I was young. The second part of this came as a complete surprise! I never knew I had broken it, and the only time I recall a bad ankle injury was when I 17 and apparently was a major reason for the problems I've been having.
This was 2 days ago. He's recommended physio and hopefully that will be enough. I've been told I should be doing ankle exercises, swimming and cycling without resistance. I'll start doing that soon but I'm just relieved I haven't been any lasting damage and that I didn't need any surgery. Anyhows, I'm hoping for a better 2011 on the injury front as I'm not the greatest person to be around if I'm not able to relieve my stress on the sports field!!
Moral of the story - give up football! (Unlikely!!!!!)