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By John Davies

Emancipation came a bit too early, I know, yet after a few days re-reading Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” on a recumbent bike I realized this was not “the road I was going down” and thus….with cast now off and my rehab took a decided upturn.

While the last year has taken performance to consistently a higher and higher level it has added some notable additions to the injury resume that had already had a formidable list of broken bones, ripped ligaments and of course a few too many concussions. Looking back to last spring, the stability of the left shoulder was completely compromised with a brutally torn bicep and pec muscle from a bizarre fall off the coping while carving in an abandoned bowl in the north east. Recovery, while slow, didn’t slow me down a bit and then early this snowboarding season, the injury resume was “dotted” with a pronounced right shoulder separation that has now turned into a gnarly (yes…I said “gnarly”, it was that or either “rad”) badge of courage and some tasty stories. While it’s hard to “one-up” those injuries, yet with somewhat of a laugh, it is quite possible that I did so with a nasty high-ankle sprain skating a few months ago to the same ankle that I severely strained the achilles 2½ years ago.

A high ankle sprain is common in this situation (if you can call skating in a bowl common) where the planted foot (rear back foot on tail of board) twists and rotates, a type of dorsiflexion and external rotation but this occurs equally within other sports. Immediate actions such as squatting low and simply keeping heel contact proves to be extremely difficult yet with prompt and proper treatment, full recovery is expected, however usually more protracted then anyone wishes to admit. Anyone suffering this type (or other injury) is highly recommended to seek proper medical attention (PT and Podiatrists opinions are highly advisable) immediately and not delay it what so ever. Not treated properly the long term impact can be extremely problematic.

Rehab of a serious ankle sprain requires a long term commitment and truthfully few recognize how long it does require. Weeks turn into months and truthfully a calendar year can go by before performance is 100%. But in my case with range of motion and strength returning, pain manageable, it was time to take the first steps, literally. Learning to run starts with in essence learning to walk again properly to ensure proper movement patterns, foot strike and gait. Beyond the lengthy direct ankle rehab work found in the rehab manual “FIX” (soon to be published from Renegade Style), my quick road to recovery has assisted with walking in water, first a pool, then cold ocean water whilst wearing an Xvest™. Starting in walking in chest/waist deep water with the addition of the water-proof Xvest™ and gradually moving to shallow conditions (akin to those who have access to an underwater treadmill) and then to the ocean has proven to be extraordinarily helpful in overall rehab work. As time prevails, cold water walks will an increase in duration and more destabilized surface walks, such as soft sand, will be added to slowly and methodically strengthen and rehabilitate the ankle.

Editorial Note: Return for the continuing series on Ankle Rehab

An excerpt from “FIX; the Renegade handbook for rehabilitation” a unpublished body of work from R~Style International

- using Iron Woody Bands mini or super mini bands for Ankle Rehab. All exercises are completed for 12-15 reps, with slow controlled movements and held at apex of movement for a 3-5 count. Perform 3 total circuits.

· Dorsiflex - leg out straight, wrap band over foot and anchor opposite end to secure object. Pull toes toward hips straight.

· Plantarflexion - leg out straight, wrap band under foot and hold opposite end of band at chest level. Press down as if laying calf raise and point toes.

· Inversio - cross “good leg” over injured. Wrap band around injured ankle and continue around healthy foot with other end of band held by your hand. Injured ankle is turned inward and up.

· Eversion - legs are out straight with band looped over both, turn injured up and out.

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