Plan of Attack

DEAR CHARLOTTE: I used to be a happy woman.  I ran long distances, slowly, and enjoyed it immensely.  But since about five months ago, I think I sprained my ankle – it’s been hurting and still swollen, and I can’t really run on it anymore… other than that marathon and that other half-marathon I ran…  What should I do? – OUCH ON THE COUCH

DEAR OUCH ON THE COUCH:  I am truly sorry to read that you are still in pain but seriously – you ran 39 miles on an ankle sprain!?  Of course it’s going to hurt!

But, I understand your frustration and love for running, so while I’m no M.D. I did want to share some friendly advice:

1.  Drug it.

Some of the ongoing pain and delay in healing can come from inflammation or swelling.  Ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory pain medications can help reduce swelling, which in turn limits the pain.

2.  Bind it.

Wrapping an ankle with an ace bandage or other elastic bandage or ankle brace can help support the injured ankle, and reduce inflammation.  With greater stability, it can support the injured area and help reduce additional injury from weak joints.

3.  Stab it.

Acupuncture can be an effective way to directly address swelling and inflammation by triggering histamines and anti-inflammatory responses at the needling site.  In other words, it continues the work of antihistamines and icing to reduce inflammation and swelling.

With this plan of attack, I hope you can focus on getting better.  You don’t have to be a victim.  I hope you get back on your feet and run, slowly, again soon.

Be careful out there.


Dear Charlotte is written by Woman at Tastes Like Onion.  Write “Dear Charlotte” at


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