In response to a comment from Alex after my 'National Post - February 24, 2008' post:
Her Comment was:
Hi Kyle,I have a question about a previous injury of yours. I know this is a comment on a blog about your knee injuries, but I found on the internet that you have had a bone contusion on your talus. I am a serious ballet dancer and have been told I have the same injury. You are the first athlete (and person) I've found who has gone through this same experience, and I'd love to know how you recovered. Since no one can give me a first hand account of an injury like this, any information you can give me would be great. Thanks!-Alex
4/3/08 12:49 PM
I suffered a talus bone contusion in March of 2004. I landed short on a vault and I could barely walk off of the mat. The next morning I woke up and my foot was the size of a grapefruit and black and blue.
It was a very frustrating injury and I can honestly say that TIME was the most important factor in healing. I went to physio and did acupuncture and mobility exercises. I iced a thousand times a day. I went to the chiropractor and got ankle adjustments (only when I could walk without pain). I took an anti-inflammatory (Vioxx, but you can't get it anymore). I taped my ankle...I think the most important thing that I did was wait.
I literally didn't do any tumbling, running or landings for more than 2 months. I just started to do basic tumbling at the end of May. I remember one day I got in a panic and I tried to do a backhandspring series and it killed! I was in agony for 5 minutes, laying there with my foot in the air and squishing my face so that I wouldn't cry. Kelly, my coach at the time, told me that I have to be smart, continue being patient and not push it. It won't make me progress, it could actually cause regression. I listened.
I was determined to come back and be in great shape for Athens, but there was a point when I saw the Olympics fading away. When you can't tumble 4 months before the Games, you get a little worried! I guess I am kind of an expert at this now!
I kept my legs strong so that when I was healed I could come back faster and not injure something else. I could walk pain free after a few weeks, but walking down stairs, jumping, going up on my toes all killed. So, I didn't do those things, but did everything I could do that was pain free...not much at the beginning, but slowly I could do toe raises on the stairs (slow and controlled), jumping on a big soft mat, bungee exercises etc.
Mentally, I did a lot of visualization. I pictured myself doing my routines over and over. I pictured them perfectly and would try to feel like I was actually doing them.
At the Olympics I still wasn't fully recovered, but I was recovered and focused enough that it didn't affect me. In fact, it might have been an advantage. I was having small victories every day. I wasn't focused on the pressure and the hype. I had to keep it simple and be happy with the small progression I made each day.
Did you know that I didn't actually stick a single dismount on floor until the one I stuck cold in the Olympic final? I tried, believe me, but I would always take a small step or hop (I actually only added my double twisting double back to my full routine weeks prior). I would freak out once in a while, but I would calm myself down by trusting that when I HAD to do it, I was going to fight like hell.
Our minds are very powerful. Stay positive. Let yourself heal. TIME, my friend, TIME. I know it's not what you want to hear, but it's true. There is no magic shot (not even tequila!) or pill that cures it. I wish there was! Don't push it right now. It will not get better unless you let it rest. Do physio, ice, tape, keep your legs strong, but don't do things that give you that URK feeling (that's the only way I can describe that pain of a bone contusion when you go beyond the point you should...it almost zings through your body and you want to lay there and just hold your ankle in one place so that it does give you that sharp achy feeling again.)
If it makes you feel any better, I don't ever think about that pain anymore. It really does eventually go away! It's hard to believe now, I know, but trust me, it does fade away.
Good Luck, be patient, stay positive and keep everyone who reads this blog updated!