A couple of months ago, I started having pain in my left ankle when I took a step. It wasn’t too annoying and I carried on with my half-marathon training walks. I got tired after a walk, but recovered quickly. Gradually, over the weeks and as the mileage increased, the pain intensified and it didn’t go away so quickly. My ankle began to hurt when I wasn’t walking. I began to wince when I took a step.
Then, two weeks ago, I realized my world had reduced to thinking of my ankle. It bothered me and I iced. I took an anti-inflammatory and iced again. I walked and iced. I iced and rested. Still I hurt. I iced. My ankle winced.
Yesterday, I went to the chiropractor and she looked at my foot and ankle and decided they were a little off, but mostly she was impressed by how twisted my sacrum was. After she did some gentle manipulations, I left the office feeling like something was really different.
As I walked the dogs this morning without a limp, I recognized that I had over-focused on my ankle. So much so that I hadn’t noticed that I’d quit moving my hip when I took a step. On the right side, my hip swayed when I took a step and on the left it was as if I had a leg that didn’t bend. With my sacrum untwisted, I could step down and sway to the left when I stepped on that foot.
The experience made me think of being in a stepfamily when things aren’t going right. Naturally, I focused on the stuff that irritated. Often, I’d try to see if I could better the situation. Nothing changed. In fact, it often got worse. I hurt. I winced. It was not fun.
My world narrowed down to focusing on the irritations. They seemed huge and painful and they grew more and more irritating. Thinking of ways to make irritating things better took up a lot of time in my life. I became exhausted and unhappy. When I finally let go of even thinking of those things as irritating, when I finally paid attention to the other equally important things in my life, especially the ones I had control over, the pain went away. Almost overnight.
That was the same story with my ankle. When I stopped holding my left leg still when I took a step, my hip swayed and the pressure on my ankle decreased. I’m not as uncomfortable. I can feel the looseness and flexibility in my gait. There’s still a twinge or ache as the new pattern settles in to something more familiar, but the pain is about ten percent of what it was.
It was a good reminder for me to hold things gently, including the pain, especially the irritations.