The Road to Recovery... part 1

15 October 2011
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Image credit: timhester / 123RF Stock Photo

Today I went to the gym. Today I started on a 6 week plan to get myself back playing football following ankle surgery earlier this year. Today is the first day on the road to recovery.

I’ve been playing sport since I can remember: rugby, cricket, football, golf to name a few. I was never a good swimmer but if there was a land based sport going on I was interested!

I had never been injured until I was 21! But then following a broken toe playing 5-a-side indoor football in January 2007 I have struggled to stay fit ever since. The injuries sustained in the last 4/5 years are: broken toe; injuries to both shoulders; groin (adductor) tear; back problems; pubic synthesitis (as a result of the recovery from the groin tear); and most recently damage to the cartilage in my ankle.

I injured my ankle playing football in Italy way back in June 2010: I’d gone up for a header and on the way down had my leg knocked which meant I landed awkwardly. I didn’t think too much of it at the time... until I tried to stand up! I couldn’t put any weight on the ankle – which ballooned straight away. I was gutted, I had been fit for about 3 months since recovering from my last injury. Once we got back to sunny Manchester I had it x-rayed which showed no break. Great news I thought! I took it easy and had physio at the local hospital every week.

Physio, for the first couple of weeks, was going well: the swelling was going down and I was starting to feel stronger. However as the next 4-5 weeks went by progress had halted! I was starting to lose faith in my physiotherapist: he had given me innersoles to “correct” the alignment in my ankles. I was wearing these all day every day for about 6 weeks as he arranged an appointment for me with a podiatrist – looking back this was a clear “passing of the book” scenario, I don’t think he was ever really interested in getting me back into sport, as far as he was concerned once I could walk his job was done. I was very disappointed, I had seen a fair few physiotherapists with my previous injuries but never anybody so un-interested. In my opinion I needed to be referred to an ankle specialist: there was clearly something wrong as I couldn’t jog without pain let alone go and play a sport!

So I went to see the podiatrist. She was really nice and very helpful. She changed the innersoles and told me to try them out for the next 2 weeks. If there was no change she would refer me on to a specialist. There was no change, the innersoles were not the answer, in fact wearing the innersoles was starting to give me occasional pain to the adductor: a symptom of my last injury – my guess is they were wrongly de-aligning my hips which would cause such symptoms. Needless to say I ditched the innersoles, the adductor pain started to go away and by the time I received a letter to invite me in to see an orthopaedic surgeon it had gone altogether.

It had taken me over 5 months to get to this stage, it was frustrating as all I wanted to do was play some competitive sport, but I couldn’t afford to go private so I would eagerly await my appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon, an appointment which would take me to my 3rd hospital in trying to solve this ankle pain.

Road to Recovery... Part 2: The Diagnosis

Road to Recovery... Part 3: The Op

Road to Recovery... Part 4: The Plan

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