Sprained Ankles and Culturally Taught Assumptions

You know the sound. The one that the movie magic people make for breaking bones and dislocating joints. The one made by abusing celery. My ankle made that sound.

It’s the kind of sound that our brains have been taught to cringe at hearing. The kind of sound that clenches your get and sends adrenaline rushing through your system.

I don’t know how, but at as I lay on the living room floor, holding my leg up in the air (Rest. Ice. Compression. ELEVATION.) I realized it wasn’t broken and it still looked like an ankle. It didn’t swell or bruise. The resting, the icing (the arnica), the compression brace and keeping my ankle above heart level for two days probably did wonders. It stiffened… but I think I broke up scar tissue. I think I actually “broke” it better than it was. I seem to have gained some mobility I thought I’d lost.

Thinking about that moment, I’ve been surprised my first reaction was that I had possibly broken my ankle. This is me, the one who dances through injuries and bounces back from crashing to the ground (on a weekly basis). The thought was pulsing through my mind before I hit the ground. The adrenaline took me away and it took time for me to realize, all things considered, I was fine.

It was the cultural programming to that snapping, crunching sound that made me assume what I did. It wasn’t any amount of pain or visual indicator. It wasn’t rational. It was that sound. The most amazing thing to me is how powerful that training is. A sound effect, used in film for years has changed how we (or at least I) perceive an injury. A sound is something (relatively) simple, and often, that awful sound is the indicator of something truly unpleasant It makes me wonder what else have we been trained to associate without our realization. Even just the little things. And moreover, what would it take for us to realize that our culturally taught assumptions are fabricated facsimiles of reality. Sometimes they’re right, sometimes they’re wrong… but ultimately life ends up being a thing slightly different.

Sometimes you don’t even notice until it’s right in front of you, a crunching sound of an ankle that didn’t break. Just a sprain. But sprain sounds so much softer than that sound. A sound I never want to hear again.