I outlined in another post how I messed up my ankle in a crash on September 30th. I've been talking this over with some ski buddies that all think I'll be fine and ready to go in the spring. I really like to ski. Two years ago I started skiing the course and moved from nothing to some full -28 passes at 34mph. I was hoping for some -32s next year. Twice a month all summer I was driving across the state for lessons.
I've been half joking and half serious about thinking this is the time to stop. Today at rehab I'm thinking the glass is more than half empty though. I was talking to one of the people there who says right out I should quit. Its a sports medicine place, so I asked if they tell football players to quite. She said no - but they don't have injuries this bad. I still have no mobility. Then she sort of started freaking during some stretching how the ankle on the left is totally numb. I knew I didn't feel much pain there, but with all the ice I didn't think it was just numb all the time. This particular PT had been around, but never stretched me before today. The main guy confirmed its been numb for a while.
What is in my head is how it wasn't a bad fall. I was going around 5 (RFF) and sort of over turned. I didn't hit the water hard at all. I didn't tumble either. My back foot came out, and my front was injured. I have double animals. I probably had the front a bit tighter than the back.
I'm not sure the medical logo, but its a 3rd degree (or level 3) ligament tear. The MRI report said it was suspicious for a stress injury and suggested an impact, but there was no impact.
The worst part is on the inside, and that is where the swelling started, followed closely by the outside. Basically a golf ball sized knot poked out of my ankle in about 20 seconds after pulling the boot off. My chiropractor say that suggests an inside to out stress - basically opposite of a typical basketball injury. I don't understand how that happened with a quick turn. If I don't understand how it happened, I don't feel super comfortable just starting up again.
One buddy says it was just too cold. It was cold water and cold air, probably 55/52. Even with a dry suit and neo hat and neo neck warmer, I felt like I was going to throw up stopping at each end. This was the second pass of my second set, so I was sort of warmed up. Maybe I just skip the super cold skiing, which I an live with. Another buddy says to forget about it - stuff happens.
So when is enough enough? If I never feel the left side of my foot again, is that enough? I'm really bummed today.
Stuff happens. And also stuff happens more often in the cold. You really do have to take extra time to not only stretch, but warm your muscles up. Those are two different things that people mistakenly think are the same.
Anyone remember the Richard Feynman presentation on the Challenger disaster? When rubber is cold, it is much stiffer than when it is warm. If you tightened the boots like you normally did, functionally it would have been as if you cinched them very tight (by your standards). One of my ski partners tore his Achilles tendon when the weather was on the cold side. In retrospect he knew the boots felt kind of weird, didn't think much of it, and obviously did not expect to tear up his ankle.
If your ankle doesn't get strong enough, or if you don't have enough range of motion, there is almost no decision to be made. I hope that you surprise your PT, and as it sounds now yourself, so you are put in a position to make that decision. For my friends that have been injured (not necessarily skiers) and myself, as we got healthier, whether it was choosing to quit or choosing to return, we found much more clarity on the decision.
So when is enough enough? If I never feel the left side of my foot again, is that enough? I'm really bummed today.
"Gam zeh ya'avor" (Google it)
I broke my arm in July, 2006 - an open fracture, in water, that the orthopedic surgeon said was just about as bad as it gets. They removed 60% of the brachiallis muscle and for a while I lost most of the use of my left hand. The 2007 season was primarily spent riding in my own boat (couldn't even drive) watching my friends ski on my lake. Now, three years later, I'm still recovering from that injury.
Growing up in the 60's and early 70's, my parents had never been supportive of my water skiing, considering it a waste of time that could be spent on more productive activities. In late February of 2007 my father, who was 90 at the time, contracted pneumonia and was not expected to live out the week. I flew to WA and spent the entire month of March caring for him and nursing him back to health - with my left arm in a clam-shell cast. After a few weeks, when he could actually come out of his bedroom and sit at the breakfast table, he asked me: "Are you finally finished with this water skiing business?" I told him that I intend to ski until the day I die, and if I can just be lucky enough to die while skiing I will have lived a complete life.
Quit skiing? If you truly love water skiing you could never contemplate such an idea, and if you can contemplate quitting then you don't love water skiing*. Today - at 92 years of age - my father drives to church every Sunday, and to the store (and other places) as needed. Almost exactly one year after I broke my arm I skied again for the first time. Gam zeh ya'avor.
(*In my opinion, of course...)
Last edited by Thomas Wayne (Tue, Apr 27, 2010 8:26 AM)
Sorry to hear of your injury. I agree with 410 on the fact that you only need to focus on recovery right now and in time you'll have a much clearer picture of your future.
I can also relate to the Golf ball 20 sec's after removing your ski. As I crushed the soft tissue in the front of my ankle with the handle in the 90's. During a turn, I got buried but the tail never Blew out and I didn't lose control either. So I just held on thinking maybe I could "pull it out". After the Mastercraft showed me who was boss and yanked the handle out of my Vise grip hands, the handle recoiled into my ankle and then proceded all the way back to the boat! As I floated there, it felt like my foot had been severed at the ankle. When I got up on the platform, and I had what appeared to be 3 golf balls under my skin. (it looked just like someone had hit me 3 times with a Ballpeen hammer) The urgent care facility just waved me on to the Emergency rm. saying that there was nothing that they could do for me...
Anyway, I recovered and thankfully I don't have any real issues with it. I broke my Back in 2001 and I recovered from that as well... You will be doing something in the future, whether it's Skiing, Golf or ??? So, right now your priority is only to heal and recover physically as well as Mentally. Put all of the focus and effort that you would have normally put towards Skiing and all other interesting activities towards over coming your current cond.
Try to abstain from saying anything negative (about anything) and only reinforce the positive thoughts; that you will NOT be denied. What ever it takes, I will overcome! I will Not listen to the Nay sayers and pessimists! I know what must be done, and I will do it! -I'm worth it...
Prayer is also Key!
I had the same injury you are talking about, same fall, back foot came out of the binding, front foot staied in the boot and I was wearing animal bindings. The only differance is the entire ligament was torn off the bone. They reattached the ligament with a staple and put me in a cast for 10 weeks. I rehabbed all winter long and was able to ski the following season. It took several years for the entire pain to go away, but it has gone away. I never had the numbness you are describing, but I had quite a bit of nagging pain.
Skiing at the leavel you are there will always be injuries. I tore my achlies last year. Spent the winter working on strienghting my leg and working on my ankle flexability. I skied all year at longer lines (28 & 32passes, 150-200 sets) working on endurance and technique. I did this for 2 reasons: 1. keep my interest up throughtout the year 2. I know the body will repair, you just have to give it time and sport specific training (waterski) to striengthing the muscles/ligaments to handle the stress of the sport. It has taken till now to get my flexibility and striength back over 13 months!!!
So cheer up train hard all winter and next spring and summer work on your endurance, technique and you will be back in the game before you even know it.
I don't mean to be cold, but this is not a very forgiving sport. Those of us that are old dogs have suffered numerous injuries in a quest towards excellence. No one will get to the top of the ladder without a few broken rungs along the way. This sport, more than most, demands that you "Love It," in order to persevere.
As an old Fighter Pilot with two combat tours, I am reminded of a motto we had that equates to this, "NO GUTS, NO GLORY."
Sorry to seem harsh, but this is a passionate, Love it or Leave it sport. You have to believe the rewards are greater than the risks.......ED
Thanks for all the posts. When I posted yesterday, I just started to realize - over 6 weeks into this, that it was a lot worse than I though. When they would push on different parts and ask if it hurt, and it didn't, I thought that meant they though I was being a puss by not walking on it sooner, or more. In reality, they were thinking, I can't believe his foot is so numb. I originally was expecting to be on the 8 week side of a 3-8 week recovery. I'm going to be way past that.
These comments echo the very first meeting with my Dr. I told him my wife wanted him to tell me to quite. He calmly and decisively said that I didn't need to decide that now. That is true.
Last year I took a bunch of short trips to Florida to stay in shape over the winter. Happening at the end of the year was better than the summer, but getting away for a few days in the winter for some sets was something I really liked.
I will surely take the rehab seriously. The annoying thing is that overdoing it for this type of injury sets you back. Its a balance. There isn't much blood flow in the feet to begin with, and the ligaments are worse for that from what they have been telling me.
While I'm confident I can get going on a ski one way or another, I may be forced to back so far off that it won't be all that rewarding. I can push off worrying about that until I know what I have when this is healed up. I also think I underestimated the cold water. I'll avoid that for sure too.
I'm surely not the guy that will continue skiing no matter what the cost though. At some point its just too high. The hours missed at work is one thing, and that is short term. Health is another thing, and that is long term.
You are the only one that can make that choise! I am on my third Kidney Transplant, they told me to stop skiing and barefooting, abnd I said no way! You have to live your life and enjoy it. Like others have said keep only good thoughts that is what will get you through. I am soory about the injury, they are no fun and a pain in the butt to get back from. Where there is a will there is a way.
Injuries are common in sports and just life. My mom was hit by a car crossing the street a day after Xmas. Broken bones from head to toe, at that time she was 63 years old. Now at 83 years young nothing stops her!
I had a knee injury on my first day on the slopes, kept on doing everything I loved until couple years later decided to have knee surgery in August, by September I was back slalom skiing and by October snow skiing. I could not afford to fall on my snow skis, the pain was unbearable, but I kept on doing it. I did PT on a daily basis, at the gym, home and at the PT. place. Finally by the following ski season the pain was gone.
Here we are talking about it.
Have patiences and be diligent about your PT, keep positive thoughts. I know is hard at times, but keep your head high and working on it, it will improve with time. You'll be looking back and wondering why was ever a doubt.
If you really like to ski ...Don't quit on some PT's advice!!!. I had the same injury as you back in 2006 around the same time of year (end of Aug). I thought I'd be back on the water before our season ends in mid October. WRONG!!! I didn't ski again until the following spring and the swelling on the inside of my ankle took a very long time to recede. That's why it still feels numb. Ankles take a long time to heel and I'll be honest and say it'll never be the same but it shouldn't stop you from skiing. Be religious with your PT and then work on strengthening and increasing flexability as other's have said. You'll be skiing next spring no problem. It may set you back a bit bouy count wise but who cares as long as your skiing right??
Last edited by 3MLskier (Wed, Nov 18, 2009 3:52 PM)
Again, thanks for all the insights.
For the guys that have had similar injuries, I'd appreciate if you would share how your mobility progressed throughout the healing. I'm looking at some medical sites on this and think I should have 50-70% in the phase I'm at where I can walk without assistance. I have nearly none. When I try to flex my ankle, my big toe moves, but my ankle hardly moves. I can do counter-resistance - like walking on my toes, but I can't do a gas pedal type movement in either direction.
Also, any specific excercises would be helpful to discuss. I'm working on a Concept rowing machine for stretching it. Then I'm walking on my toes for strenght. I started a stretch on the stairs where I do a fake walking motion keeping the balls of my feet on the stair. I ordered a round wobble board that I should have next week. I ice it up 3-4 times a day. I'm going to add some bike riding. I was able to get an e-stim machine to use twice a day. I'm trying teh stretches where you write the alphabet with your foot, but it really doesn't move much. A stretch where I lay on my back and put from the knee down on a coffee table let me move the ankle the most - but only a little so far. I stepped it up this week, but now I'm waking up with some throbbing - so I get out of bed an watch TV and ice it.
I'm 7 weeks into this. I see the Dr. a week from Monday. I want to show him the plan of what I'm doing. Last time he said avoid walking around the block for now. My PT is up this week. If I can do everything from there at home, I'd rather save the $$, but I'll continue if the Dr. recommends.
Put a 1x4 or 1x6 piece of lumber on the floor, rest only the balls of your feet on the board and stand up straight. Lift up onto the balls of your feet until you're stretched up on your toes, then ease back down. Repeat 'til you puke. When this becomes really easy switch over to a 2x6; if the jump from 1x to 2x is too much find some 1/2-inch plywood and put it under the 1x as an intermediate step.
If the 2x becomes too easy put the plywood under it or screw the 1x and the 2x together for even more lift. If you work your way up to 6x lumber call the Guinness World Record folks.
Chris- I'm in the same boat you are . Oct 23, I went out the front going from #3 towards #4. Back foot came out, front foot stayed in. I rotated three times. I was also in HO Animals! All of the ligaments that surround the ankle were torn, the talus, tibia and fibula had fractures, and two tendons on the lateral ankle bone pulled away from the bone, taking bone with it. I was in surgery for THREE HOURS! I've got 6 more weeks of non-weight bearing before I start rehab. I've also had a knee replacement, surgery on my right shoulder, and a torn rotator cuff on the left, and finally a herneated disk in my back at L4/L5. After all of this...I'm still struggling with the same question you are! Of course my family thinks I'm nuts to even consider it, and the wife wont hear of it. sooo, I dont know, dude. It would be a no-brainer if I were a pro, or a national class amatuer, but I'm not. I'm a 50year old 22' to 28' off skiier at best! But the tought of never again getting out on the water at sunrise with my ski buddies, or the adrenaline rush of a crisp pass really depresses me. ...so I need the same input
Last edited by Leon Jones (Sat, Nov 21, 2009 4:18 PM)
Leon & Chris;
I can totally relate to the big laundry list of broken bones, stitches, pain and ever increasing physical limitations. Breaking my Back in 2001 was certainly my Biggest mishap and therefore, ended life as I had known it. I quit Golfing among other things, and didn't even consider Skiing until last year... I have done very well physically, working with what I now have to work with. In the Gym I can totally micro manage my body and I can actually excel and enjoy conquering personal Gym goals, etc...
I have had a very rough time this ski season, because Skiing is So demanding especially upon the Back... I've been laid up totally for 3 wk's twice this year and even as I write this I have been totally laid up again for my third "3 wk injury", but this one will probably run for another wk. or two...
I have had the most painful yr. since the entire yr. following my 2001 escapade. On the up side, I've learned how to make a really Good Long Island Ice Tea!!! (my wife is starting to worry!!!)
I only started Skiing again and putting myself through all of this Hell, because I felt like LIFE was slipping away... I have always been a player and not a very good spectator. So, 7 yrs. later I decided to start doing what ever felt like LIFE and living again. I knew going in (to skiing) that I may not be able to Hang. But, I will continue until I feel LIFE leading me in another direction. WTS, I also want to deligently follow my Heart and not be bullied around by the Fear of "what if"... You have some Good common sense and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, -if you give it time and Follow Your Heart you will soon be heading down the RIGHT ROAD... The only road that matters, is the road where "LIFE" resides...
One day at a time, Life is a Journey not a destination...
Last edited by h20dawg79 (Sun, Nov 22, 2009 7:00 AM)
I just wanted to update this post from last fall. I've been working on my ankle like crazy. The hard work avoided the need to have surgery, which is good. I have decent range of motion, but not all. The bone bruise is what is slowing me down. Every time I do a little bit of strength exercise, it swells up a bit. I have a decent system for icing it up - a little cooler that circulates water through a pad that wraps my ankle.
So Iím 6 months or so from the injury. I can walk 5-6 blocks before it starts to hurt enough that I feel I should stop. I could go further, but would just have it swell up more. I tried some roller blading just as a test, and not very far. It was OK and didnít cause any problems. It stretched different muscles.
The foot Dr. Said he could do a clean up scope if needed, and cold drill a hole it eh bone of the swelling was still a problem. He said wait a year for the hole though.
I switched to a different PT in late December. The new guy is very good and very positive. I have 3 people Iím turning to concerning skiing - my foot Dr., the Chiropractor, and my PT. The foot dr. said try it, and use good judgement. If I didnít love skiing, he said skip it. Since I do, take it easy. The back Dr. Said if he didnít know me, and didnít hear the stories for the last two years, he would say quit. Since I love it - take it easy.
Now the new PT. A smart kid. He said the way I explained the course, it seems impossible to take it easy. Bingo. When I said if it was warm enough to ski now, Iíd give it a shot. He said if it was warm now, he recommend against it. When I asked why he said because I can even take a small hop on my bad foot. - which is true. He said I should be able to hop around on the bad foot enough to do the final strength expertises before skiing. Its hard to argue.
I donít plan on cold water skiing anymore, so I have about 6-8 weeks to go. Iíll probably need more than that to do the hop thing.
Now that the extent of this injury is clear, any new encouragements? On a side note, I have not been able to visualize myself on the course since the injury.
I know injuries happen. I figure if I had a decent chance of skiing without another injury this bad, Iíd give it a shot. Iím not worried about the small stuff. Iím worried about the big stuff.
First, "Gam zeh ya'avor" is my second language, I don't have to google it. But it is true.
2nd, reading about all these injuries has me wondering about bindings. Is there any agreement if it's better to come out or stay in after a fall? I'm skiing on an F1 with double Enzo's and my feet don't feel like they are going anywhere. If I fall hard enough to come out of those bindings, then something is gonna hurt.
I know my feelings, but I cannot speak for the entire skiing community.
If you are not comfortable and nervous because your bindings are not going to release, you need something different. You need to be confident in your equipment, period. If you have no reservations about your boots, that's fine. Ski them, love them. I definitely would not recommend that to someone that takes still goofy falls and cannot anticipate and eliminate most of their crashes.
The good news is that I feel that we are starting to see the beginnings of binding Renaissance.
It feels like the RS-1's really put everyone on notice. I think the HO Exo will be pretty polarizing,
but they are definitely going to get the ball rolling to better, more reliable and consistent water ski bindings.
Last edited by HO410 (Mon, Mar 22, 2010 6:58 AM)
Chris Ė Good luck man. It's sure great to see all of the posts - PSC is pretty cool forum! Here are couple of additional thoughts:
>> make sure you are not over doing it on trying to rehab - I've had injuries where I prolonged the recovery by trying too much too soon
>> I have a 60-80% tear in posterior tibial tendon and some other damage more towards the front - I can ski with it, but I can't run and if I am standing/walking for more than an hour or two a day, it gets real sore and tight and it seems to be getting worse over time. So I am convinced I will need a repair eventually, but I've had all the imaging and been to the ortho surgeon 3 times, and I am NOT convinced they get what is going on, so I am going to get it looked at somewhere else... With the questions you have, maybe this is something you should consider as well, or at least keep this in mind depending on how things progress.
>> Is there any specific surgeon(s) that have treated a lot of water skiers and are known to be very good? With all of the ankle injuries in this sport, seems like info on Drís would be a good resource Ė for instance, who treated you in 2008 Chris Rossi and how did they do?
>> Skiing in cold water is certainly hard on your body - I see a lot of people in FL toughing out the winter in board shorts and neo top, but I am a wuss and put on my wet suite, dry suit, and more layers until I am warm while skiing because I know for a fact that I am more sore and can ski less often if I ski cold.
>> Hard-shell liners are way warmer than other options and you can tuck the leg of you wet suite in the cuff (needs to be tight fitting around calf not to grab in turns).
>> With your new non-standard ankle geometry, heat molded liners and shell if required will make a huge difference on how much it hurts when you get back on the water - also can be molded around an elastic brace w/ silicon inserts if you need this. I had a ton of ankle pain skiing even after going to hard-shells, but molding boot, liner, and a molded hard insole w/ really tuned up support makes me more comfortable and confident w/ my ankle while skiing than I am walking on the ground Ė my water ski boots are the most comfortable thing I have to put on my feet!
Last edited by miski (Mon, Mar 22, 2010 7:13 AM)
Something to consider when coming off of an ankle injury is to learn how to properly tape your ankle right before skiing. I have been at the starting dock and seen some of the top skiers in the world do this and have had to do this myself. You just use duck tape, takes only a couple minutes, and will really help to stabilize your ankle. It will also help protect you in a fall.
Good Luck, ED
PS: HIGHLY recommend releasable hard-shells for stability and protection.