October 14, 2020

The Cranky Ankle … an opportunity to be more flexible
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Have you ever tripped and fallen so fast you barely had time to put your hands out to keep from face-planting? I have.

When I arrived to the World Championships of Track & Field in Osaka, Japan I was determined to shake off my jet-lag. I admit, the 17+ hour flight and 13 hour time difference had me a little groggy. I’m in town to do massage for some of the US athletes. To snap myself into the new time zone, I decide to go for a jog. Just down the road is the beautiful Osaka Castle Park. Sounds good, right?

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I must have been admiring the ancient moat or the beautiful architecture when, BAM! My toe hits a big ‘ol root. Next thing I know, I’m on my hands and knees wondering, ‘What the heck just happened?’

The fall shakes me up a bit. Dusty and scratched, I humbly jog back to my dollhouse sized hotel room.

That day I had a lesson to learn. Little did I know, I needed to get ready to adjust and be very flexible. Japan is a very different country when compared to the US. That particular day, I didn’t adjust. I crashed. Lucky for me, there is always a lesson in those unexpected disruptions.

Did you know that our ankles represent our body’s and our mind’s ability to pivot and adjust?

Ankles serve to help us keep our balance. If we walk on a rock, a root, a broken piece of pavement or a Lego, immediately the ankle does its job. It swivels, turns and/or rolls all in a matter of seconds. If we feel off balance, without even thinking about it, our feet and ankles spring into action.

Wouldn’t it be great if in our mind we could do the same thing? When someone says something that throws us off balance, how would it feel if we could automatically swivel, turn and roll around the comment? I’m imagining a Martial Arts master. The well trained masters normally avoid confrontation. However when and if it comes, they are trained to redirect, to turn and roll out of the way of the aggressor.


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Ankle pain could mean it’s time to turn on our mental Ninja powers. Just like the ancient masters, we have the opportunity to redirect a comment or ignore it. To turn the conversation in a different direction. To roll out of the room. To not react. To stand in our power, smile and nod.

Let’s be clear. Sometimes ankle pain is straight up a physical injury – a sprain, a strain or a fracture. Acute ankle pain (new and sudden pain) needs a doctors attention. Especially if there is swelling. Chronic ankle soreness (stiff and achy feeling that comes and goes) could be a circulation issue, could need an adjustment from a Physical Therapist or Sports Chiropractor or it could be a subtle message that it’s time to be more flexible in life.

Ankle pain sometimes shows up to remind us to be flexible in life? Really? How does that work? If there is ankle pain, and the doctors have ruled our injury, we have to opportunity to look beyond the physical and ask a few questions: Where could I be more flexible? Where could I adjust left or right to stretch a little? Do I have the opportunity to re-balance or re-calibrate my own opinion to make space for another point of view?

Most likely ankle pain is about the physical, but now and then pain shows up as a messenger. One more way our biography becomes our biology.

Namaste friends,

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