"You heard that, right?" I asked the group of netballers gathering around me, as I lay on the court feeling slightly sick after the ominous 'crack' that seemed to come from my ankle. I managed to wiggle my toes and hobble off (to a nearby pub) so, of course, it must be a sprain. Wrong. The pain increased, I could barely walk and it turned out to be a fractured fibula. Oops.
In my sporting youth I managed to remain virtually injury-free. Now, with just the odd struggle of a netball match here and there, I finally join the bone-breaking club. It's not a fun one.
Here are 10 things that I have realised about breaking your ankle:
1. It Hurts. Bad
Being my first break (apart from my little finger which doesn't count), I had no idea how much it would bloody hurt. A lot, it seems.
Bit of sarcasm, sure - but angry outbursts are extremely rare for me. Since this injury occurred, I seem to have re-mastered the art of the toddler tantrum. I keep punching the air/sofa (note: no humans have been harmed) and I let out the odd cry of desperation. What a drama queen.
3. Common Reactions
"Does it hurt?"
"Shows that doing exercise is bad."
"At least you can do absolutely nothing and be waited on."
"Were you drunk?"
The funniest (slash worst) comment I received was from the taxi driver who dropped me home after my trip to A&E. He was asking lots of questions about my leg and when I said I felt lucky that I had got to my age without a break he exclaimed, "Oh - I have so much respect for you to even be playing at your age." Erm, sorry what? I'm 31, not 70!
When you used to nick your mate's crutches and have a go on them in the playground, they seemed so much fun. When you are under orders not to put any weight on your leg and you are carrying a heavy cast (not to mention dealing with the lack of upper body strength) they are far from fun. In fact, they are a complete pain in the...well...leg and arms.
5. Stairs are the Devil
No. No, no, no. Can't do it - won't do it.
6. Rucksacks are a Wonder
A couple of months ago I wrote about about the ways you know you are in your 30s and wearing a rucksack - using both straps proudly - was one of my points. Well, thank goodness that is the case because my rucksack has become my prized possession. (Tupperware & flask are a close second and third.)
8. Style Issues
I am no trendsetter - I lack any flair for fashion - but we all know that an enormous, white plaster cast can never be sexy, can it? Team that cast with some grey walking aids and getting dressed up for a dinner out or a special occasion is just not the same. I can't help but think that there is a gap in the market for a designer to step in here and at least give people some way to style it out?
How do you get through your cast-wearing sentence without a huge amount of disproportion going on in your body? Surely you end up with one leg much bigger than the other, guns of steel from the crutches and an extended waist from being unable to move properly? Urgh.
7. Speaking to Strangers
I understand that speaking to strangers in the street is a nightmare for some, but I've enjoyed receiving the odd 'I've been there' nod or having a random chat, distracting me from the fact that I've only made it 10 meters in 10 minutes. Over the weekend an old man held out his walking stick and shouted, 'En Garde!' I declined but it made my day.
10. Get Over It.
Yeh - I am bored, frustrated and irritable but it really does put things into perspective and has made me think of those who have long-term or life-long problems. It is only a broken bone for me so, now I've had my rant, I will shut up and crack on. (Bad choice of word, sorry.)