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An idiot in London – the Train and a Sprain

By on Dec 15, 2015 in Health, Information | 0 comments


The other weekend, I was in London for the Sutherland Cranial College of Osteopathy annual general meeting, followed by the Rollin Becker Memorial Lecture, not, as it may seem, to pick up an ankle sprain.

I’m not reviewing the presentation, what I want to share is all about my journey down.

Having enjoyed an uneventful journey from Manchester, I collected my belongings and exited the train to meet my mum on the platform. Almost as soon as I greeted my mother, I realised that I had left my coat on the overhead luggage rack on the train. My keys and wallet were in the pockets so I turned around and set off at searing pace to retrieve it.

As I had been one of the earliest to disembark the train, there were still plenty of people coming up the ramp and I dodged and weaved past some surprised looking people on their way to the station concourse. As I twisted to pass one passenger, I obviously turned too sharply for my unlaced boot and my ankle rolled, emitting a loud ‘crack’ as it did.
Ten to fifteen people in the immediate vicinity collectively made that sharp intake of breath sound, followed by a communal “ooooh”, the kind of exclamation you used to hear at school when people knew you were in trouble with a teacher. Yes… Ankle sprain!
Undaunted, I hobbled on rapidly to the train and started to get concerned when none of the doors would open. I tried every carriage one by one until I arrived at the opposite end of the train where the driver’s window was open. Poking my head through with a polite “excuse me” was enough to almost give the poor man sitting with his back to the window a heart attack.
When he heard my predicament, he was quick to invite me onto the train and we made the long journey back to the other end, carriage by carriage.
Coach H no-longer contained my coat but I was assured that the station platform crew would have collected it and at worst would have taken it to lost property. All I needed to do was to find someone in a red coat and they would return my clothing.

I did find a member of the platform crew and described my coat and where I had left it but to my surprise, all he asked was

“Are you sure it was this train?”
Me: “Yes, I’ve just come in on it.”
Him: “This train has been here a long time.”
Me: “Yes, I went up the the main concourse, realised I had left my coat, left my bags, ran back down, gave myself an ankle sprain, couldn’t get back on the train, walked all the way back to the driver’s end and then we walked back through the train together and then I came and found you.”
Him: “This train has been here 45 minutes!”
Me: “No, I’ve just got off this train which has just arrived from Manchester.”
Him: “This is the Glasgow train… The Manchester train is over there.” [points across the platform]

Needless to say, I did manage to retrieve my coat with all contents intact but I also collected, on my way, a bad ankle sprain and confirmation of my afore-held belief that I am a prize idiot.

Whilst that will undoubtedly amuse, I thought that I shouldn’t finish without supplying some useful tips for treating a sprained ankle should you fall victim to accident or idiocy over the Christmas holiday period.

30 minutes of self-treatment on the scarlet-faced car ride home involved firm massage strokes from the bottom of the ankle area towards the knee (drainage towards the heart) to stimulate circulation and try to mitigate some of the inflammation.

As soon as I got in to my parents’ house, I managed to purloin an ice-pack from them and applied it six or seven times for one minute periods with one minute gaps between each one. This again was to increase blood flow and try to limit inflammation or at least drain it away as much as possible.

All this time I had the ankle raised to improve drainage and I double-socked it in the absence of any compression support brace or bandage.

That is generally the way to trigger the most rapid healing response to a sprain (sprain, not strain – muscles are strained but ligaments are sprained.)

R – rest
I – ice
C – compress
E – elevate

Easy to remember and very effective.

And I also got a couple of colleagues to treat it osteopathically which of course, helped immensely.

As soon as I could, I ordered an ankle support – adjustable neoprene cuff with elasticated straps that cross over the front to make a figure of eight type stabilisation for my ankle.

Within a couple of days, there was significant bruising in a line on the outer side of my food, just along the edge and also in the instep. My toes also turned a share of purple, all demonstrating that it was a significant sprain with fairly heavy blood vessel damage.

Two weeks on, it’s much less swollen and the bruising has gone. Most of the pain has faded and mobility is almost normal.

Hopefully you can learn from my mistake and avoid a similar injury, remember excess alcohol consumption is likely to make something like this more possible and if you can’t avoid a sprain, at least you can now treat it.

Have a wonderful Christmas, I hope you have a peaceful and resting time.


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