I have been training for my first marathon for about 5 months. Yesterday
I tripped on some steps and sprained my ankle. It is a minor sprain
(some swelling and discoloration, but not a lot) but I can walk on it
without crutches or anything like that. Problem is, the marathon is now
three weeks away. The doctor I saw this morning, a general practicioner,
said to forget about the marathon since it could take a month or two to
fully heal from a sprain. Should I take his advice and set my sights on
This is a good question Matt, it gives me a chance to discuss the healing of dense connective tissue.
Day 1-4 the wound is essentially bleeding
Day 4-15 the wound is 100% cellular, with a matrix of connective tissue being layed down that will, in effect, act as a scaphold for the scar tissue.
Day 15 - 21 the wound actually gains some strength, allowing it to get to 15% of its final integrity.
Day 40, about 40% strong, and day 90, about 90% strong.
By this measure, you can see that the actual value of rest is more significant that the value of stressing the now injured tissue. Reinjury is a significant issue, and it makes more sense to let time pass while the scar tissue heals, than to rush back to activity potentially injuring the tissue further.
I can share stories about hi level professional athletes who I have worked with after they had returned to the NBA too early. Not only was the pain constant, but there was x-ray evidence of failure of the ligaments to protect the skeleton.
So long story short, run your marathon next year.