Broken Bones

I was an active and adventurous kid, and I’m an active and adventurous adult. So, having a history of many broken bones is not all that surprising. In fact, as I write this, I’m limited to balancing on crutches or sitting while my fractured ankle heals. When I tell people that I fractured my ankle on a fall while bouldering, the most common response is something like, “at least you did it doing something bada$$.” These comments made me reminisce on past broken bones, trying to remember the story of each one. And let me tell you, they weren’t all broken doing something “bada$$.” Some were broken doing something so mundane that neither I nor my family can remember the story. And some were broken doing something so stupid that the stories couldn’t be forgotten. Those stories are provided for your amusement below. Enjoy! And don’t do what I did ;)

My dad, along with a crew of men, often had my sister and I in tow while he worked on building our house. My sister and I would play in the woods surrounding the property or, more often, on the equipment that wasn’t being used at that moment. We were 6 and 7, so our perception of danger wasn’t quite dialed in. One day, we found ourselves alone with a large dump truck. We climbed over the sides and into the deep bed of the truck, and inside, we found a large rope. Then suddenly, we had an idea. We threw the rope over the back side of the truck, and I, being the youngest, set out to test the idea. As my sister held on to one end, I climbed over the side of the truck and then proceeded to climb down the rope toward the rocky ground below. Now, to this day, my sister will swear she yelled, “I’m letting go!” But I remember it as a sudden, no warning free fall with nothing to grab for as I plummeted to the ground. There were tears as my sister tried to convince me not to tell dad. And there were more tears as my dad tried to convince me not to tell mom. He bribed me with hotdogs and ice cream, which worked. But two days later, with my arm bruised and useless, my mom took me to the emergency room. I came home later that day with a bright pink cast.

One year later, we were moved into our new house. This new house had a HUGE basement. The concrete floor was perfect for rollerblading. So, my sister and I, now 7 and 8, strapped on our blades, tied pillowcases around our necks for capes (naturally), and started zipping around in large figure 8s. Sometimes we’d grab on to the thick, smooth metal support poles to spin around quickly to pass the other one. We were laughing and having a good ol’ time. But then it all came to a halt. As I went to spin around a pole, my pillowcase cape, caught between my hand and the pole, caused my hand to slip. My left wrist caught my fall. We were still laughing until we looked down and saw my wrist had been completely dislocated from the fall. My sister yelled for my mom while tears started to pour from my eyes. My mom threw us in the minivan and rushed to the emergency room. I fell asleep on the ride there. (Breaking bones is very exhausting.) The doctors must have given me some pain medication, because as one nurse held me down and another pulled on my hand to reset my wrist, I sang ‘You Are My Sunshine’ at the top of my lungs. I came home with a white cast this time.

Now, somewhere before or after those breaks, I broke my other arm and my other wrist and chipped the bone in one of my big toes. My mom remembers the other arm being broken on a slide at a summer camp. I vaguely remember a pool being involved in the chipping of the bone in one of my big toes. And my sister swears I broke both wrists during the caped rollerblading incident. But even though those stories have been mostly forgotten, whenever it rains, those bones remind me that they too had once been traumatized.

I got through my middle school and almost all my high school years without another broken bone. But then, senior year of high school, Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) came into my life. I had the game for my PlayStation and played constantly. I would often take DDR to a friend’s house where a group of us would battle it out. We were fearless and aggressive DDR competitors! And I was obsessed. One of those nights, I took to the dance board to defend my high score. I cracked the tension from my neck and shook the nerves from my limbs. I had this. There was no way I was going to let anyone take the top. But I made one fatal mistake that night: I wore socks. As I remained light on my toes, striking each note with expert precision, my one socked foot slipped on the smooth surface of the dance board. My other foot tried to catch me while still hitting the next note, but it couldn’t dorsiflex in time. All my weight landed on my right foot with the toes tucked under. A loud crack silenced the room as I crumpled to the floor, and my perfect score disappeared before my eyes. My foot didn’t feel too great, but I was determined to regain my DDR Champ status. I took a break to walk it off in the other room. As I limped around in circles, my friends witnessed my foot swell while the skin became tie dyed with black and blue. My boyfriend at the time, against my will, carried me to the car and drove me home for my mom, a registered nurse, to look at my foot. My mom took one glance at it and took me right to the hospital. When X-rays confirmed a broken foot, I made a deal with the doctors: No cast this time. Instead, I wore a walking boot, promising the doctors I wouldn’t weight the foot without the boot on. I never played DDR again.

I made it through college and most of my 20s unscathed. But overtraining for my first marathon lead to fracturing my right sit bone. Once I could run again, I went into ultramarathon distances while pacing my 100-miler friend. But overtraining got me again when I tore the tendon that connects my right hamstring to my right sit bone. (Think maybe I should have properly rehabbed that fracture from two years prior? And maybe I should’ve learned my lesson about overtraining the first time? Insert dramatic eye roll here.) Rehabbing the torn tendon took months and getting back into running was slow. So, naturally, I picked up a different sport: Climbing. And that brings us to today, fighting to stay sane while my fractured ankle heals. So, I’ve been doing some research on how to speed up this healing process, and of course, nutrition plays a part! Read here for some good foods to eat to help heal a fractured or broken bone!

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