Solving Problems

In a follow up to covering my interesting problems last week I’m excited to report some progress on all fronts. I’ve come clear of the cloud of fatigue that has been hanging over me for a couple of months, my ankle impingement has received treatment and the procedure went smoothly and my pelvis is becoming better aligned after I messed up my gait while trying to protect my ankle during my big races in Europe.

After struggling with bad form for months, followed by trouble sleeping just before WOC I took a blood test which discounted a few possibilities such as low iron. By this stage I had not been training for a month and my insomnia was getting worse so the next step was to investigate supplementing my zinc intake and I immediately started having excellent sleep. Although the science around zinc’s relationship to sleep is spotty I had a number of suggestions to try it. The change was so immediate that I struggle to attribute all of it to the zinc tablets. I went from taking between 2-4 hours to get to sleep to 15 minutes literally overnight, I didn’t wake up every hour and I felt wide awake all day at work. I’m stoked to have a fully functioning brain again, and at some stage I’ll play around with the zinc intake to get more confidence around this strong correlation.

MRI scan of my left ankle showing some extra white stuff

Last week I also received a cortisone injection directly into the build-up of scar tissue between my talus and tibia in my left ankle. As the tibia slides forwards over the talus the scar tissue gets jammed by the shape of the two bones. The cortisone was injected using ultrasound to guide the needle precisely into the scar tissue, and aims to reduce inflammation and give my body a better chance to remodel the injury site.

Looking down on the cross section of my ankle apparently shows bruising marked by the green arrow. I’ll just reiterate what the experts say on this one.

What was also noted from the MRI scan was the bruising of the talus itself, perhaps from the initial impact one year ago that kick-started this cycle of positive feedback where more damage created more swelling and scar tissue making it easier for subsequent damage to occur. I’ve had no discomfort after the injection, but will not know the how well the remodeling process goes until I race in 2 months.

Coooooool!!!

I’ve also made good progress with my stride mechanics and can now run up to half an hour without my TFL turning into a ball of tightness. More analysis at Sports Lab showed a subtle over-lifting of my pelvis when standing on my right leg, although much less than what I was experiencing a month ago. More activation drills and release work are needed to restore the proper activation pattern. Was it really worth it to push through all those races in Europe while trying to compensate for my ankle now that it has taken 2 months to overwrite my lop sided technique? Probably, Fin5 was epic!

So for now the off-season lives on.

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