So yes, if you missed it, I have a sprained foot.  Go ahead, read the story of my stupidity.  It’s worth the laugh.  And as always, I am special.  I didn’t sprain my ankle, which is what the vast majority of the world does.  No, I have to be different.  I sprained my foot.   And I hate it.  It is driving my batty for so many reasons.  I was told by the ER doc that this would take six weeks to heal, but there is no way it can possibly take that long.  I’m sticking with the positive mental attitude as much as I can.

In the meantime, I have some learnings to share with you.  Because I’m a giving kind of person.

Top 10 learnings about a sprained foot#11  I’m tougher than I think. (And I can’t follow rules – so I have 11 items.)  When I injured myself, I didn’t swear.  Not even once.  Not when I knew how bad it was and that this wasn’t something that was just going to go away in another minute or two.  I managed to walk on it to the oven to take out the bread before it burned.  And back to the couch.  And when the ER doctor said that putting my foot in an ice bath for three to five minutes at a time would help more than an ice pack?  You bet your behind that I stuck my foot in the ice bath without flinching.  A friend bet I wouldn’t be able to stand it. Wrong.  I did it, and I went back for more.

An ice bath for a sprained foot

#10 The wee ones are very sweet.  Very.  Sweet.  Mister Man was home when my injury occurred, and he immediately ran to get me his walking stick while I was still trying to hobble back to the couch.  He got me an ice pack and wrapped it in a towel without me asking.  When he couldn’t find the Arnica Gel in our first aid box in the upstairs bathroom, he brought the entire box downstairs for me to help him find it instead of whining upstairs and giving up.  Little Miss immediately found her little knapsack and offered it to me to  use to carry things around the house so that I was a little less helpless.  And they’ve both been so solicitous of me and my foot, it’s really adorable to see.

#9 It is possible to do the dishes, even on crutches.  There are plenty of things I can’t do.  Sorry, Honey, but I can’t go out with Little Miss to deliver her Girl Scout cookies because I can’t walk.  Sorry, Honey, but you have to do all the driveway and sidewalk shoveling because… I can’t.  But the dishes?  Those I can do thanks to our kitchen setup.  I can load and unload the dishwasher by setting items on a counter, crutching over a few feet, moving the item closer to where it needs to be, crutching over a few feet and so forth.

#8 But oh my word no one knows how to load the dishwasher effectively in this house.  While I can load and unload the dishwasher when dishes are near it, I have to rely on the wee ones and my husband to put in the majority of the dishes from their meals.  When I went to turn on the dishwasher this morning, I was amazed to find a) the can opener Mister Man had used to open a can of tuna last night in the dishwasher b) multiple cups facing up instead of down c) a spatula that is a hand wash only item in the dishwasher d) plates stacked on top of each other instead of in the slots and e) all sorts of cups and bowls and storage containers all higgledy-piggledy in the dishwasher where not a one of them would get clean.  Honestly, this explains a lot about what I tend to find in the dishwasher, but I tend to go through the dishwasher once or twice a day and reorganize it to maximize space and ensure everything will get clean.  Osmosis apparently isn’t in effect in my house.

#7 Although I can do the dishwasher, it is physically impossible to do laundry while on crutches.  Trust me.  I tried.  My husband was banned from doing laundry long ago after he ruined one too many of my clothes.  So it’s been piling up.  And I can’t stand for laundry to stay chronically undone.  I tried pushing, pulling and kicking the laundry baskets down the hallway in an attempt to do laundry.  Then I realized that even if I picked up a handful of items and threw them repeatedly down the hallway until they reached the washing machine, I couldn’t get them all out of the washer and onto the drying racks.  It’s giving me the shakes, so tonight when the wee ones get home, they’re going to do it while I stand guard (and pour the laundry soap).  I expect whining and moaning, but they’ll live.  I think.

#6 Cooking is also … a challenge while on crutches.  The first night, my husband made me a plate of nachos and brought it to me on the couch.  The next morning, they left the house – and me home in it – without feeding me breakfast.  It took me another day before I realized that I could stand at the fridge and pull an item out, turn around and place it on the island, and repeat until I had the fixings for a salad.  Then I could get a bowl the same way and make a salad.  And stand at the island to eat it after putting away the ingredients.  I feel so uncivilized eating like that, but it’s what I’m reduced to at the moment.  I can’t carry a pot far enough to fill it with water to cook, nor can I carry chopped ingredients to a pan without spilling them.  For this reason alone, I may ditch the crutches and just deal with whatever pain I may have.

#5 Related: Had my husband not married me, I’m pretty sure he’d be dead of a coronary by now.  My husband is less bothered by my not cooking than I’d expected he would be.  He doesn’t cook (except to grill what I’ve prepared and to make an incredible chili and pancakes – it’s our arrangement and suits us both).  He was perfectly content with the idea of eating out every meal, though I suggested he pick up something prepared so I (or the wee ones) could just heat it up and go.  I was thinking meatballs or a rotisserie chicken or soups or the like.  He came home with potato pancakes.  And suggested frozen pizza.  I forgot that when we met his freezer was stocked with essentially just frozen meals and that this is all he ate.  It’s so not my style – and it’s not anything I want the wee ones to get used to.  Fortunately with the snow yesterday, the wee ones were home from school “early” and had no activities, so I directed traffic while they made spaghetti.

#4 For all the things I can’t do, I can still work out.  Not going to the classes that I’ve been doing for the past two months was the biggest disappointment for me about the sprain.  I really enjoy them, and I was so proud of the fitness level I was starting to attain.  The good news is that since this is a foot sprain and not an ankle sprain, I can rest my foot on the ground.  I just can’t really put weight on it or twist it.  I figured I’d try my cardio kickboxing class and see how it goes – obviously not doing any kicking.  I managed to do the majority of the class, albeit much of it modified.  When they were kicking, I’d punch again.  If they were doing squats, I’d do ab work.  If they were running, I’d hop on one foot or do arm work.  Just being in the class is motivating to me because I don’t give up and work hard the whole time I’m there.  I’ve been to all my regular classes and have figured out how to modify them, even though I’m not getting much cardio in.  Yet.

#3 That little knapsack from Little Miss is helpful, but it doesn’t solve everything.  I’ve used the knapsack to carry everything from my iPad to my water bottle to library books to my boxing gloves to the mail and more.  Unfortunately, the mom who wants me to meet her at school to drop off her cases of Girl Scout cookies?  I can’t fit that many cookies in my knapsack.  And I refuse to make 50+ trips to my car and back to load them three by three.  So for the moment, those cases of cookies will have to stay at my house or you’ll have to come pick them up.  And when the UPS man comes?  Unfortunately, I can’t carry large packages either.  Trust me, the image of me leaning out over my front step trying to figure out how to get enough leverage to lift the box into my house was comical.

#2 Good friends are a necessity.  I’m lucky to have awesome friends.  I know that, and spraining my foot only reminds me of that.  On Saturday, a friend showed up at my house and refused to leave until I went to the ER even though I knew it wasn’t broken.  I appreciate that.  Another friend went to Costco for me to pick up the yogurt I’d forgotten to have when I sent my husband on Sunday (and oh is it interesting to see what comes home from the store when my husband goes – even with a list!).  Another friend picked up the wee ones from school and took them to gymnastics when the idea of me trying to use crutches in a crowded gymnastics facility with children hyped up after school racing everywhere started to make me hyperventilate.  With me unable to do many of my normal things, it’s been so wonderful to have friends who immediately reach for my purse to carry it for me or to text me to see how I’m feeling.  It gives me motivation to heal more quickly so that I don’t have to rely on them, but I’m grateful to have them.

And the number one thing I learned about a sprained foot?

#1 If you have to injure your foot or leg, at least injure your left one.  I was lucky that I sprained my left foot.  Why?  Because I can drive.  Yes, I’m hobbling.  And I’m slow.  And it takes me four minutes to get into and out of my car.  But I can go places and do things and not simply be stuck at home on a couch with my foot on a stack of pillows wrapped in an ice pack.  That alone – and my friends – has saved my sanity.  Thank goodness I at least had the luck to sprain the right – errrr my LEFT – foot.

What have injuries taught you?



  • Shannon

    Aww, Michelle. I hope you heal quickly. I’ve lucked out this winter, I’ve fallen three times (on ice while walking the dog) and once up the stairs (don’t ask), but no major injuries!
    Feel Better!

    • Michelle

      Yikes, Shannon! Three falls on ice? So glad you haven’t injured yourself. Me… I’m not quite so smart? Lucky? Special? Or maybe it’s just that I *AM* this special!

  • Sandra

    You poor thing! That has GOT to be really tough. I was thinking the entire time reading this post that “good thing it’s at least your left foot,” and that ended up being your #1. I hope you get better before the 6 week mark. In the meantime, rest well and thinking positive. I’m sending healing vibes your way.

    • Michelle

      Uhhh yeah. It’s tough. And I feel dumb. I have a new cover story though – Little Miss was kidnapped, and I had to jump out of a plane to save her and the kidnapper shot my parachute with a flaming arrow right before I hit the ground, which is when I sprained my foot. I still managed to rescue her, though, and all’s well. Does it sound believable?

  • Pat

    It’s amazing all the activities that you find out you can’t do when you’re injured! What a hassle for you. It sounds like you’ve worked out solutions for all of these activities, even if they’re not perfect. I’ve had several ankle sprains over the decades and I’ve learned to ice and elevate, as you’ve done, and sometimes to wrap it in an Ace bandage.

    • Michelle

      I know. I hadn’t really thought about it until… I was forced to. So sorry to hear about your ankle woes – hopefully you won’t have another one ever! (And yes, I do have awfully sweet children, don’t I?) 🙂

  • Pat

    You have some super-sweet and empathetic children.

  • Kathy

    MIchelle, I really enjoyed reading your notes! I just sprained my LEFT foot (fortunately) at my new crossfit class. After reading this, I realize that I too am very lucky that it is not only my left, but also just a sprain. I did this 12 hours ago & just managed to go downstairs…slowly & painful, but did b/c I was thirsty. I came down to all the dishes that my family decided to leave for me. I did manage to put them away but reminded them & myself that “its ok” not a big deal, but it would be helpful if they did put them in the dishwasher:)

    Thanks for the “pick me up” notes, as I realize this is just a slow down sign. I am always rushing & will slow down. I too am looking for a quick speedy recovery & am going to get back to the gym very soon!

    • Michelle

      Oh good luck to you! It’s hard and not fun, but it healed faster than I thought it could. And I did make it to my gym while still on crutches. For me, the more I moved, the better I did. In the house? Carry a backpack with you to carry things! 🙂

  • Nurse Brittany

    Michelle, I enjoyed reading your persevering story. I too received a foot sprain; however mine is more recent. Sadly, it is my right foot. Also, I am stuck without the ability to do hardly anything (No driving, chores, and hardly any showers). My lachrymose story of woe started on Friday the 13th; just before Valentine’s day. While my husband was off getting my “secret” gifts, I was with my wee one at the park until we decided to run up and down the skate ramps for fun. In the process of playing with my 3 year old son, I hyper-flexed my middle foot. My son immediately ran over to my side and lay on the ground imitating me until my husband showed to take me to the ER. There we were, two individuals holding our feet in the air praying to Jesus in the middle of an empty skateboard park. It has been almost two weeks, and I can put the boot on and take just a mild amount of pressure. I can also get in the shower with a chair, but it is a lot of hard work, however, it sure beats the soapy rag while on the commode. I hope you recovered well, and it did not take too much time. I did have a couple of questions. Did you have a knot under your skin where the tissues rested after the tear? Did any of your toes not bend or follow proper stimulus? Finally, did you have to see a podiatrist?
    Thank you for your time, blessings
    Nurse Brittany

    • Michelle

      Oh you poor thing! What an awful Friday the 13th! I hope you heal quickly now that it’s started. It sounds like yours was a worse sprain than mine, though I did a lot of things balancing on one leg while I had it (yay yoga skills!). I was somewhat able to put pressure on it after maybe 3 weeks, but it was 6 or 7 before it was pretty normal. My chiropractor does physical therapy, so they were a huge help using stim and other therapies to speed the healing. I had a giant knot for the first week and a half or so, but the stim definitely helped break that up. My toes at first – especially the second and third toes – didn’t move properly at first, but they got better over time. I didn’t go to a podiatrist, but without having my awesome chiropractor, I probably would have done something. It was ugly!

  • Mary

    i sprained my right foot gah.

    Your lucky your left was sprained

  • luz usquiano gatewood

    I had the exactly same injury and it is amazing how you solve some “problems” because I have done the same. I have laughed with your article, it was like seeing myself. Moving things on the kitchen counter, carrying things in a bag, getting things from the fridge, etc.
    I am still in recovery desperate to hit the gym again. Thank you for making me laugh.!

  • Giulianna

    Omg I feel your pain! I was hit by a car yesterday while on a bike and fortunately the only injury I got was a sprained foot! I am trying the ice water thing right now and it seems to be working…

  • Jada Strada

    Thanks for sharing…especially the pic with the big knot on your foot. I have been googling trying to find anyone with my same problem lol I sprained my foot about 6 wks ago. It’s still swollen and I have the same knot as you. I’ve been icing for the 6 weeks and I think I’ll try the ice bucket method now. I have a question how long before you could walk again and how long did it take for the knot to go away? I am having an MRI in 2 weeks becaus my Dr. wont release me to work without one. I can’t do anything at all but elevate and ice. I’m also wearing a foot brace.

    Ps I know this is old but hoping you still read this.


    • Michelle

      Oh I’m so sorry to hear about your foot. If it makes you feel any better, my son sprained his ankle last night. Trying to get a book from our car. By six weeks, I was pretty much back to normal. I was definitely off it for between one and two weeks but then went to one crutch and some weight after that. By three to four weeks, I was off crutches but not doing high impact/twisting for another couple weeks after that. The knot was pretty much gone by 3-4 weeks. I am not a doctor, and I don’t have good medical advice for you, but I know how frustrating that is. Arnica is also my friend, and that seems to help with a lot of healing for a variety of injuries with swelling or aches or bruising. Good luck!

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