T Nation

What Should I Do?


I was playing racquetball on Sunday (my off day from lifting), and as I started to roll my ankle I was able to take the weight off, almost in time to prevent an injury, but not quite.

I end up going to the doctor, get x-rays, the usual stuff and there is no obvious brake. The doctor was reassuring the usual mumbo-jumbo, and advised me of course not to lift. Well here it is 48 hours later, and not only has the swelling in the foot increased but it is moving up the leg, the affected leg is now a full inch larger. This is becoming very despairing and I have become increasingly concerned.

So the question is what should I do; should I train upper body to maintain some sort of routine or stay completely out of the gym? Would it be okay to work legs just with leg extensions and curls or should I avoid all leg excercises completely? Finally how do I maintain a positive mindset and mental focus? I see my chiropractor/massage therapist tomorrow and he usually has good advise, but would appreciate any feedback.


Don't quote me on this (not really my area), but I believe that cortisol will rise as a result of injury. Training may increase that response especially if you train legs or increase bloodflow to that area. Again, this isn't gospel, but I'd lay off legs at least.


Of course you should train your upper body. Doctors always say 'Don't train' but then look at the pathetic physiques most of them have.
Stay away from leg training at least until you see where your injury is heading. Just use your common sense.
Re: the mental side of things, use your injury as a chance to bring up your upper body a bit. Slightly increase your upper body volume. You will need to tinker with your program a little probably and remove some standing exercises.


I would definately go back to the doctor and ask why your leg is swelling and getting worse. You should be more concerned with keeping your leg in its current location and not on how to exercise it.


If you have neglected rest, ice, elevation and compression (RICE) in the first few days, you may see some significant swelling. Have you iced the ankle, have you used a compression wrap and elevated the foot as much as possible? If you work standing up, chances are the swelling has just not been given a chance to diffuse back through to the lymphatic system. Wait another day or two, this should take you through the inflammatory response phase (a normal phase of injury), then maybe start some active range of motion exercises (start with plantar flexion and dorsiflexion only). Keep the compression wrap during the day, particularly if you will be standing or walking quite a bit. This will help control swelling. Keep icing the ankle after a long day, and after the ROM exercises. Let me know how it goes after that...I can give you some tips to begin strengthening.

PS: is there only swelling or bruising as well?


There is no bruising but the edema is pretty significant; it has not moved above the knee.


I would definitely keep an eye on that swelling and make sure that it doesn't get any worse.
Besides that I agree with the indiviuals suggesting that you start working on some range of motion excercises. Pay attention to what your body is telling you though. As with any sprain you will have to work through some pain but you should be able to tell when it is too much. After three sprained ankles thoughout high school and college football I can tell you they definitely suck and it is a nagging injury. However, don't let it get you down and don't baby it too much. The range of motion excercises are good for minimizing stiffness and promoting blood flow to the injury.
Just use some common sense about what excercises you do. I usually found that I had range of motion and could jog long before I could sprint or really exert force on the ankle.
Good Luck