How to Bounce Back (Carefully) from a Debilitating Injury
On April 5, 2020, three weeks into the pandemic shutdown, I broke my ankle. I had never broken a bone or worn a cast. I’d never had major surgery or used crutches. But in the midst of a pandemic, I was able to tick off all four.
A year later, here is some advice to help ease the way to recovery if you or someone you know experiences a similar event, be it a broken bone, a severe sprain, or anything that puts you out of commission for any length of time.
Fun facts: In the United States alone, supposedly about 6.8 million people break a bone each year, and on average, every person will experience 2 broken bones over the course of a lifetime. So, you never know.
Err on the side of caution from the very beginning.
It had been raining, and as I started down a set of stairs outside my home, my right foot slid forward off the first step unexpectedly. My left foot twisted behind me in a way it wasn’t accustomed to as the right foot kept sliding down the steps. I knew from the jolt of pain that nothing about this was good.
This is what I shouldn’t have done: I limped back home, which was about 100 feet away, barely able to put pressure on my left leg, moaning in pain with each step. I probably made my injury worse by doing that.
When you sense you’ve sustained damage to your body in some way, take it from me, assume the worst. We tend not to do that. We tell ourselves it’s just a tweak or a strain. If we’re wrong, like I was, we can cause ourselves more damage.
If you feel shaky, sick to your stomach, and you need to lie down, you’re probably in shock and the injury is probably serious. Call 911.
That’s how I felt when I made it home. After an hour, though, I felt better and thought I was fine. My ankle, on the other hand, was the size of a softball. I convinced myself it was a bad sprain. The next day, an X-ray at the Minor Injury Center proved otherwise. My ankle was broken in 2 places, requiring surgery.