The Paratriathlete Diaries: Scissors & Tape

This post is one of a series I call “The Paratriathlete Diaries” – in the series I hope to take a regular look at the random things that happen in my life as an athlete with challenges.  Any ideas, questions, or suggestions throw them my way. I would like to use this feature as a way to answer questions anyone might have about living with chronic conditions such as Charcot Marie Tooth disease and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, but with a light touch and a bit of humour. I’m all ears!

Almost three weeks ago I fell down my stairs.

It was about two in the morning, and a little sleep deprived I was going downstairs to help our newest household member “take care of his needs”.

Yep. Felix is now almost 14 weeks old, but still needs a middle of the night outside break. He isn’t quite house trained yet, and definitely can’t hold it through the night. Besides, who could resist a little middle of the night time with that face? Not. Me.

Anyway, I was tired and thought I was at the bottom of the stairs but wasn’t, and as a consequence COMPLETELY went over on my foot. I felt it immediately – a sprain, at least.  I limped outside with the pup, then headed to the freezer for a gel ice pack, and tucked myself back into bed with my foot wrapped on ice after taking a few ibuprofen.

Because, isn’t it totally normally to have a freezer full of gel ice packs?

Later that week I went to my physio, Ellis. Ellis taped up my ankle and showed me how to re-tape my ankle with sixes and reverse sixes. He gave me the all clear to resume training IF my ankle was taped stiffly, and ended our session with “and if it is too tight, just get out your bandage scissors and cut a V into the tape to release some pressure, or re-tape your foot.”

Because of course I have bandage scissors and stiff physio tape in my cupboards.  Because most triathletes do – especially a paratriathlete with a predisposition to ankle sprains, thanks to my nerve disease CMT!

I kept my ankle wrapped fairly constantly for about 10 days. Healing has been slow, and I think the stiff tape may be causing me nerve pain. It feels like nerve pain anyway – a burning in my foot. Constant. Unpleasant.  My personal theory is that the inflammation from my ankle sprain is pushing on my nerves and doing all sorts of crazy pain related things.

Living with nerve pain is nothing new for someone with CMT. Nor is living with an ankle sprain. The trick is finding a comfortable way to manage through. Right now, although I have the go ahead to train (provided my ankle is taped up), the training seems to be inflaming things. So this week I have backed off, again, to give my foot some time to feel better.

Thankfully swimming feels great. I am in the pool this week, and getting in a strength and conditioning session.

And digging out more tape. The elastic kind next. I just happen to have a few rolls in the cupboard.

Because all triathletes – especially a paratriathlete with a nerve disease that predisposes her to ankle sprains – do, right?

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