So you have put months and months into training for the big event and then at the last minute your worst nightmare comes true….injury. This is exactly what happened to Marcus Rendle just two weeks before 2015 Challenge Roth.
On a gentle recovery run around The Downs in his hometown of Bristol, his right foot went down a rabbit hole and he rolled his ankle. Causing immediate swelling, resulting in a non-weight bearing ankle. This was diagnosed as a level two sprain of his Anterior Talofibular Ligament (ATFL). The ATFL connects the fibular malleolus, the bump on the outside of your ankle, to the talus bone in the foot. The role of the ATFL is to help maintain stability in the prevention of inversion. After disaster had struck Marcus flew out to Roth unsure if he would be able to race. The flight itself only increased the swelling.
Here is what he has to say about it. “Uncertain if I would be able to race and questioning whether I even wanted to travel to Roth or defer my place for a year, I spoke to Kate and the team at Race Force to see if they could facilitate a competent sports massage guru locally. They certainly delivered! Despite having not met John before, it was instantly evident that he was an expert in his field. He quickly ascertained the problem and proposed a plan of attack for the four days available. His clear translation of technical jargon into layman's terms provided comfort and hope.”
So three days before the race was the first chance we had to do any work to try and get him to the start line. My initial concern was to try and reduce the swelling around the ankle, we addressed this with a combination of lymphatic drainage massage and an application of Sporttape designed to create subcutaneous channels of high and low pressure to aid in the removal of excess fluid.
“Daily massage and taping to reduce swelling started to work within 24hrs and by the third day the swelling was nominal and I was keen to test the ankle after two weeks with no impact. John explained that an extra day of healing could make all the difference and what would I achieve by a five minute run? I surprisingly managed to resist the temptation and had a final session with John the night before the race.
”We carried on with this tact until the swelling had reduced enough to allow us to assess things like range of motion and stability. At this stage we started to address any compensation issues which had developed to try and return normal function. Although it was only Marcus’s ankle which was injured, there are a lot of muscles whose tendons pass through the affected area, such as the peroneals. All of which needed to be assessed and treated. On the Saturday before the race Marcus had the chance to test his ankle with a gentle swim and an easy cycle, previous to this snapping his right foot out of his cleat was too painful. However as we had made significant progress this was now very doable! During our final session we worked on mobility to ensure that the ankle would have suitable range of motion and stability to allow him to complete the huge feat ahead.To try and reduce the risk of re-injury and to try and offload some of the work of the ATFL we used a slightly different taping technique which can be seen in the picture below.
This tape is applied in a way to use the elastic properties of the Sporttape to resist any inversion of the ankle, guarding the ATFL as well as to promote activation of the peroneal muscles.
Together we were able to get Marcus’s ankle back to something which resembled a functioning joint. Which allowed him to achieve his goal of finishing Roth, all be it in a slightly slower time than he had planned for initially. “I wouldn’t know until the run to T1 whether the work had been successful but despite it only being a few hundred metres, there was no pain and suddenly my confidence was back, the bike was definitely going to happen and the run a distinct possibility. Although my strongest of the three disciplines today was not the day to try and run a PB. Common sense, a slow pace and focus on technique coupled with the taping prevented the ankle from collapsing and I somewhat leisurely and safely completed the race albeit 90 minutes behind where I should have been. Learning to race the conditions and within the limits of the body was a skill set well learnt and I look forward to returning to Roth fit and healthy.” So if you end up in a similar position, there may be a way we can help you in a similar way!
KitBrix Luggage Partner for 2017
February 24, 2017
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