Don’t fall off walls [a recovery update]

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably realized that I’ve gotten into climbing recently.  I discovered climbing in law school. The first time I stepped into Brooklyn Boulders was the summer after 1L year and right after the NYC Triathlon.  About a year ago, I took a Learn the Ropes class at BKB (& wrote about it here).

However, it wasn’t until after school was over and bar results were released that I’ve actually started climbing more regularly a few months ago.

Me on the auto-belay walls (harnessed climbing without a partner)

Of course, people warned me about the different climbing injuries – pulling muscles in your fingers, elbows, etc. in addition to ankle sprains.  Friends have warned me to fall properly if I’m going to jump off a bouldering wall. You can read all about falling the right way here. 

(For my non-climber friends, there are two main forms of climbing: bouldering (no harness, shorter walls) & climbing with a harness (top-roping and lead climbing with much higher walls).  Notice the difference between the two photos below. 

Let’s take a step back. I run a lot (not lately). My feet and ankles are actually really weak.  Plus it doesn’t help that I wear high heels a lot in professional settings. After my last half-marathon this October, I was hopping around because of plantar fasciitis in my right foot so I was climbing a more because it didn’t hurt as much. However, I’ve always had issues with Achilles tendinitis in my left foot since my first marathon about 4 years ago.  Thus my left foot and ankle always seemed like my weaker side.

Fast forward to December – I fell off a wall and for a few days I felt some pain on my left ankle.  I did fall “wrong” as my ankle rolled inwards when I landed.  But it was fine after a few days. It didn’t swell but there was some pain.

Okay….let’s fast forward to January, when I fell off a bouldering wall and heard a pop when I landed. UGH. That sound still haunts me. My foot was so swollen and bruised for days.  You can read more about that here.

So recovery?

After feeling sorry for myself and not really working out for a week, I got the okay to start to put weight on my foot and go climb (only with a harness, no “falling off walls” or jumping off walls as my doctor says).

Two weeks after I sprained my ankle, I got admitted to the NY Bar. Sadly, I tried wearing heels (they were barely heels – 2 inches) for the swearing in ceremony but it hurt too much to wear them.

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For weeks, I wore an ankle wrap all the time, even just going to work.  Doing yoga was fine until we had to get into upward facing dog, which places a lot of weight on my ankle in an awkward way.

For a while, I couldn’t do much.  Just lots of arms and core stuff to workout. Squats and lunges felt too painful even though it wasn’t a high impact workout.

What can I do?

So it’s officially been FIVE WEEKS since I sprained my ankle.

After seeing my podiatrist last Friday, she recommended physical therapy to me (which I’ve never done before!).  She also said I should try running.

So I did.  I was a little scared to put weight on it but it was fine. I ran maybe 4 blocks in total.

Oddly enough, I’ve been throwing myself into climbing but only harnessed climbing. For top roping, I need a partner to belay me so I’ve thrown myself into every climbing group I can find to find friends.  It’s oddly working. I’ve made some new friends out of my need for a belay partner. So if there’s a silver lining to everything, it’s this.

What’s next?

Well, I dropped out of the NYC half next month because there’s no way I’d be ready for that.  I am signed up for 3 smaller races in April with NYRR including the UAE 10K.

I’m oddly very excited for physical therapy but 3x a week for two months sounds like a lot to me.  I’m holding off on that for a week or so since my health insurance is changing next week.

My current workout routine is yoga 1x-2x a week, climbing 3x a week, plus lots of strength exercises with weights and resistance bands.

Any tips for recovering from an ankle sprain? Anyone want to be my belay partner? 🙂 


2 thoughts on “Don’t fall off walls [a recovery update]

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