Six long weeks. That is how long it has been since I sprained my ankle. Everyone has asked me if I sprained my ankle on a tennis ball, or while playing tennis. This is what happened. While I was playing a tennis match, I chased a ball down at the end of a game, that went outside the court onto the grass area next to the court. As I ran to retrieve the ball, my foot slipped into a drainage hole that was well below the surface of the ground, hidden in the grassy lawn. The hole was large enough to fit my foot. I went down and unfortunately could not get back up. The bottom line was that I had a terrible injury and I wondered how I would manage the set back.
Managing a tennis injury – recovery tips!
During my down time, I had to be content on watching the US Open from a television screen instead of going to the tournament. The great thing about watching the US Open tournament on ESPN is that ESPN showed every court playing at the tournament. Watching great tennis inspired me to plan quite a few tennis travel trips for the next twelve months. Stay tuned for our European reviews in October (hint: Palma de Mallorca!).
During the first few weeks I did everything I could to take care of my ankle. I had x-rays taken and followed up with my doctor (Dr. Shail Patel, Summit Medical Group). The podiatrist, at week 3, injected my ankle area with cortisone to help reduce the inflammation. I asked for physical therapy, but the doctor asked me to wait another week. Finally at week four, the doctor gave me a physical therapy prescription; however, told me if my ankle was not better that I would have to have a MRI done on my ankle. It was encouraging to focus on my physical therapy.
My physical therapy office of choice has been JAG, Warren, New Jersey led by my Physical Therapist, Mike Evangelist. JAG Physical Therapy has a number of offices throughout New Jersey. The first thing they did on my appointment was to put an amazingly comfortable ice pack on my ankle. (Tip: Greatest ankle ice pack is called Paradice. It easily slipped over my foot to cool my ankle.). While I was getting iced, the therapist placed stems on my ankle (electric stimulation therapy). After that treatment was complete it was time to do exercises.
The physical therapists gave me seven exercises to do to for my sprained ankle.
Place a ball (kickball size or yoga brick) between feet and squeeze the ball with side of top of the foot. Hold for ten seconds, ten times.
With a red resistance band, put over ankle. The therapist would hold it straight back (resistance) while I moved the top of my foot forward.
With a red resistance band, the the therapist would hold the band to the left of my foot (for my left ankle). I would move my foot toward the inside of my foot.
With a red resistance band, I would hold the band toward me around the foot. I would then move my foot backward.
Calf stretch on a flex foot rocker. This can be done with the calf stretcher or stand on tip toes and hold for 30 seconds, three times.
Hold on to the back of a chair and stand on my tip toes and then back to flat, 30 times, three times
Stand without touching a chair on left foot and hold for 30 seconds, 3 times.
The next week, they added time on the stationery bicycle coupled with 3 sets of ten on the leg press. (We just bought a spin bike to help me with my recovery. I just added some spin workouts from my Amazon Prime Videos to watch while I’m spinning).
After each of my physical therapy appointments at JAG, I feel one step closer to recovering from my injury.
Best advice for getting through the injury
This time of year is usually very exciting for tennis. All our indoor tennis leagues start up, as well as our indoor social tennis groups. My tennis teams have great ladies. The friends I have made playing tennis have been my best friends, through everything.
With my sprained ankle, I felt connected to my step-daughter’s injury experience. She played soccer for the University of Florida; however became injured. She was understandably miserable. As we watched her team’s game on ESPN, we witnessed her not so positive body language, as she watched her team play from the sidelines. My husband spoke calmly to his daughter about this. He told her that we could see her on television (as could everyone else who watched) and the fact that she did not look happy about being on the sideline. His advice to her was to show enthusiasm and encouragement towards her teammates while they played. She mustered up all the positive energy that she had within her and focused it on becoming a positive influencer and leader for her soccer team. Despite her injury, her energy was contagious and everyone looked toward her for strength, for the highly ranked Division one women’s soccer team, playing at college’s highest level. She turned the tables and made the best of her injury by conquering adversity.
Sadly, I had to cancel playing all my tennis matches until I was fully healed. I told my captain, I would still make lunch for the team on the day I was originally assigned and I would stay to cheer on the team. It wasn’t the same as playing in a match, but I was very proud of watching my teammates play fantastic tennis.
I’m hoping that I’ll soon be back on the tennis courts. I’ve been injured as well as suffered illness and other adversity, before this incident. Each of those times it took me away from tennis. For instance, after my late husband passed away, I didn’t want to play tennis anymore. Soon after that, my teenage daughter said to me, “Mom, dad always told me to find something I love to do, and do it…like mom loves tennis.” She said, “Mom, you need to play tennis because you love it.” I thought about it and realized she was right.
Most of my friends have experienced issues and injuries that have kept them away from tennis or something they loved to do. The important thing now is that I’m doing all the right things, taking care of my injury with proper rest, care and physical therapy with loving support from my husband and friends. I’m still in the tennis game because I can be a positive while I’m planning new tennis travel, teaching tennis and cheering on my tennis team. During my down time, surprisingly, my revelation has been from my step-daughter and my daughter. Both, reminded me that my sprained ankle is just a small road block in life. More importantly, it is about focusing your inner strength on positive things, even when you aren’t feeling great, to be the best you can be. I’m not sure if it is true, but it makes me feel good about myself: it takes less energy to smile than to frown!
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