A good news story about how patience pays off
It was January six years ago that I shattered my left ankle. At the time, I agreed with the surgeon when he advised my sporting days were over and I would have a stiff and arthritic ankle in a few years. I was in my early 60's, and that did not help my prospects of making a full recovery. The trauma to the ankle joint cartilages and two of my tendons were extensive (the tibialis posterior and flexor hallucis longus tendons to be exact).
While acknowledging this disaster which you can read about here, I set my sights on making the most positive I could of a bad situation. I focussed on doing everything in my powers to enhance healing.
The result was remarkable. Within eight weeks of the injury, I realised I could ride a bike without pain. Walking close to impossible, and this remained very restricted for the next four years. So, riding it was; walking it wasn't. I did hardly any walking and barely any running until about a year ago. I listened to my ankle tell me when it was ready to do more.
In 2017, still taking care not to put my left foot down in an uncontrolled manner, I came second in the UCI Masters Mountain Biking Championships.
Then, in 2019, I won!
Here is a slide from a lecture I presented to the US-Based Lydiard Foundation's coaches on the topic of resilience and injury prevention and treatment.
What I'm illustrating here is tissues like tendons and cartilage have prolonged healing times. In the case of my ankle cartilages, I knew, if I had any chance of avoiding arthritis, I had to avoid doing anything at all to irritate these seriously damaged tissues. Here's the thing: each time you stir up an already fragile and stressed tissue, you pretty much have to start all over again from the beginning! Call it the "Ground Hog Healing Day", if you like! If you keep stirring an injury up by pushing things too quickly