Ankle

I have received quite a few questions about my ankle and so with some hesitation, I will post my experience with it on the trip thus far. To catch up anyone reading this who doesn’t know me all that well, here is a very short version of the story…

In 2005, I fell 20 feet from a climbing wall, multiply dislocating and blowing apart a portion of the Talus bone in my left ankle. That is the main weight bearing bone in your ankle, so its not the best one to break (not that any are favorable). The doctors told me while I was quite doped up from pain meds that I would most likely not be able to walk without a limp and a cane again and sports would be out of the question. After a couple of months in a wheelchair and a few more on crutches, I finally was able to walk again (normally) six months later. 

Although the doctor’s prognosis was wrong about me never walking or doing sports again, they were correct in saying that I would develop arthritis and would not be able to perform impacting activities such as running, jumping, pivoting, planting, etc. It has been a mixed road in that I am in constant discomfort and sometimes pain, but I am able to walk with my ankle still on (the conversation to change that has been had with the doctor and he said I am still two steps away from that). 

Specific to the trip, my ankle has held up remarkably well doing hikes such as 5,000 foot ascents to ruins in Peru and 3,000 foot drops and ascents in volcanic craters in Hawaii. Yes dad, I am being careful. My ankle has been roughly the same hiking as it is on an average not-so-active day. It does have a constant soreness from developing arthritis and sharp pains that occur every once in awhile from where the cartilage is missing and bone is rubbing on bone. The doctors (and I have seen and consulted many) say that I am free to do any activity that my ankle can handle and that I cannot hurt it any more than is already done, aside from a traumatic injury (obviously). 

I use trekking poles (thank you Aunt Deb and Uncle Tim) that allow me to support my weight going downhill and help to propel me going uphill, as my left ankle cannot effectively flex/extend to propel me on its own. I take my time on trails and stretch as much as I can when needed. Mornings are the roughest as it sometimes takes me up to an hour to warm my ankle up enough to be able to walk properly. Some mornings I am ready to go in just a minute or two though. Each morning is a suprise and I cannot really predict what the next day will hold. 

I want to clarify that the purpose of writing this post is to answer a number of questions I have received. I am not writing to seek sympathy so, with respect, please do not write “I feel bad for you” posts. There are a huge number of people that have it far worse than I do. Although I am not thrilled to wake up to the pain every morning, the ongoing experience has opened my eyes to many things that I would not have otherwise been exposed to.

Hopefully that answers the questions. Sorry for the somewhat “downer” post, but some people were curious.

But, to make this an upper…I’m adding some pictures from our 3 weeks in Hawaii!-Jason

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