As a fairly active person, I’ve had my fair share of injuries. That’s not unexpected. It makes sense that despite exercise and all its benefits, every now and then, health junkies have to face the result of overworking their bodies. Take for example, what happened to me late July: I was out for a morning run when I decided to change the course I normally take and go for a ten second uphill dash to end my routine. Everything went well until I tripped as I made my way up the forty-five degree slope; then, I was on my side, picking myself up, and groping at my left ankle.
It was definitely a sprained foot or a sprained ankle. I’d felt it before, and I knew the drill on dealing with it. I had a friend of mine assist me home, and I spent the rest of that Sunday in my couch, with my foot elevated. It took me a few days to realize that the sprain was a bit worse than I was used to.
When the pain hadn’t fully gone away by the fourth day, I decided to have a doctor check up on my ankle. The diagnosis was sinus tarsi syndrome, or STS.
According to my doctor, STS is commonly associated with sprains and other injuries that damage the ligaments around the ankle and heel area. This causes tenderness on the lateral side of the hindfoot, instability, and scar tissue in the sinus tarsi.
I’ll be honest here: listening to the way my doctor described it scared me. I mean it sounded a lot more complicated than it was. However, after listening closely, I was told that it could be treated the same way other sprains are treated; with rest, ice, compression, and elevation. I was on the right track all along. Without proper treatment, STS can worsen just like any other physical injury, and lead to development of ganglion cysts, more torn tendons or ligaments, or even cause serious internal bleeding.
It took me a few weeks to fully heal before I could feel no more pain from the injury. Soon after that however, I was back on track, and continuing my active lifestyle. After a bit of research, I found a few ways to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen to me again.
The usual rules when it comes to avoiding sprains come into play when one wishes to avoid STS. Warming up before an exercise improves flexibility of tendons and ligaments, and allows muscles to take on sudden motions with greater ease. Popular stretching exercises are good examples of warm ups that help serve this purpose. Cooling down after a strenuous workout also builds resistance to injury.
Finally, it is beneficial to take not of consistency. As the body gets used to a set pattern of motion – a specific route run every morning, or a sequence of exercises performed every workout – the risk of error is reduced, and muscle memory helps to perform the actions right. Such simple adjustments to an active choice of life help ensure the quality of healthy activities, and prevents the risk of injuries such as sprains; or in my case specifically, STS.