I was in high school when I first sprained my right ankle. I don’t recall the details, though I know it was due to soccer. I saw an orthopedist to ensure nothing was broken or completely torn. I have thera-bands that are probably as old as that original injury. However, I don’t remember if I went to physical therapy, a practice by which I now swear. After that injury, I purchased my first ankle brace. It seemed like a good, preventative, idea. Yet as the years have moved forward, I still sprain that same ankle, even with the brace. Sometimes I wonder if the brace helps or has slowly weakened the ankle. I tend to only wear braces for soccer (yep, I purchased one for the left ankle after destroying it in 2004). There again, that’s likely because that’s the only contact sport I play.
I have started to wonder, have I become too dependent on my ankle braces? Sometimes I think about trying to play without them. Then the “what if” creeps into my mind. What if I DO sprain it this one time? Am I going to feel like a moron for even trying? Is it worth the first chance of not wearing the braces versus knowing the brace may help for the next 6 months, year, maybe two, before I injure myself again?
I’m definitely on a hiatus until after the wedding. It’s better that way. There's no need to risk crutches in a pretty white dress. My prescription for physical therapy is on its way to the house. I will be working out with my trainer for the next several months. Perhaps it’s time to really work the ankles, to believe that they can be strong enough to go brace-less and to know that they are not as weak as I joke they are. Maybe it’s time to take off the training wheels that I have come to rely on. It’s possible, that the cutting and the movement, may actually strengthen and not injure. Every so often, I also contemplate hanging up my cleats. Though with each game I play, I remember exactly why I love it, with and without injuries.