Project Lean, Part Two: How to lose an ankle for ten days

There’s an old saying about not being able to keep a good man down. If it’s true, I must be a terrible man. A few weeks into my Maximuscle challenge, I managed to fall down a flight of stairs and sprain my right ankle. Rather than being sensible and resting it, I continued to walk around on it for a couple of days before admitting defeat and doing the whole RICE thing (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). However, the damage was done – by placing more strain on my left foot when limping I managed to give myself a case of plantar fasciitis, c.f. the Batman style POW in the diagram above.

I received little sympathy from a female colleague, who had the following to say when I told her the main symptom is heel pain – ‘Heel pain? Big deal. I get that after wearing heels on a night out!’ Not to put too fine a point on it, but this isn’t even close to being a reasonable comparison. Plantar fasciitis occurs primarily in athletes and seems to have a predilection for baseball and basketball players, with Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant among pro ballplayers who have been sidelined by it. In a truly sobering article (especially when you’re dealing with the diagnosis), Sports Illustrated calls the injury the ‘most difficult in sports’ and outlines the way in which it has all but ended MLB player Scott Podsednik’s career.

Fortunately, my story does not seem destined to have such a bleak ending – a quick and painless (well, except for the hobble there) visit to Guy’s Hospital revealed that the source of the injury was almost certainly placing additional stress on muscles that I don’t usually use after spraining my ankle. ‘Just keep taking ibuprofen, rest it and try these exercises, and it should ease up in time,’ the nurse said. ‘How much time?’ I asked, eager to get back to my new fitness regime. ‘Time,’ she replied with a knowing and sympathetic smile. ‘It varies from person to person.’

In my case, ‘time’ seems to translate two just shy of two weeks. After dinner on Friday night I went to the gym. I avoided the treadmill, but otherwise worked out pretty much as usual with no unpleasant after effects. My conditioning and stamina, however, are pretty much shot. Nor have I ventured back onto the basketball court yet. I think it’s going to take a Christmas miracle for me to be dunking by the end of the month…

Despite my time off, I have still seen some gains from my efforts thus far. Here’s hoping with a concerted effort in the run-up to Christmas that I’ll see even more improvement…

Measurements (and previous):
Chest – 38.5″ (38″)
Biceps (untensed) – 10.25″ (10″)
Waist (at hips) – 34.5″ (34″)
Shoulders – 45″ (43″)
Thighs – 20.75″ (20.5″)


  1. daisychain

    Two weeks makes you superhuman I reckon. I’m on crutches 8 weeks post a fall down some stairs!

    ‘Scuse the random jumping in with a comment, I have been reading for a while.

  2. mat

    i’ve done similar, broke my ankle but it didn’t feel like it was shot. i was out for about 6 weeks. keep it up superman