Archive | 7:51 pm

Overcoming Injury

17 May
Bionic

I am bionic.

I’ve been hearing a lot of injury stories lately, I was going to repost someone else’s words of wisdom but most of them tell the same story and I have first hand knowledge of this recently.  Here are my tips for overcoming injury.

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Right after arriving at the hospital.  The bloody gauze is where my tibia popped out of my skin when my fibula snapped.  Cute…I know.

Allow yourself time to be sad about being injured. It sucks, but you have to deal with it.  Don’t dwell too long, but it’s OK to be down a bit.  Then as soon as you can get moving again with the understanding everything will be much harder and take so much longer, but you will be happy with your small victories, even if it’s just doing laundry or making yourself a snack.

 

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Post-surgery with lots of ice

Remember what you love to do besides train/sports.  Injury does not define who you are, nor does whatever sport you play or activity you do.  You like/do other things, you just need to remember what they are.  When I broke my leg I decided to start reading more, and I busted out my kindle.  Guess what I read about?  Two things, first whatever I enjoyed, light things that allowed me to just enjoy my reading.  Secondly, about happiness.  I delved into what makes people happy so I could be better at it too.  Both of these things I have carried on beyond injury and they have been tremendously helpful and stress reliving activities.

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Accept help.  In the beginning it will be hard to adapt, but you will.  It is tremendously helpful to have someone who can help you until you figure it out.  My mother-in law came out and was so helpful when I broke my leg.  When she got there I felt helpless, by the time she left, I felt like a superwoman ready to take on almost anything with my one legged self.

Figure out what you can do and get good at it.  My first obstacle was learning to use my crutches, I sucked when I got on them.  I am a very lower body dominate person.  By the end of six weeks I was crutching like a boss, I could probably walk just on the crutches.  I began to find another blessing within my injury:  my upper body strength and training went to new levels.  Once I figured out I could do battling rope seated or on my knees, I would gather any weights I needed or props, and make myself a little workout area and destroy myself, without standing.  I even figured out how to work my legs without putting any pressure on my injury.  So I really didn’t lose much anywhere but the part of my leg in the boot.  If anything my upper body got tremendously more strong and I learned to hop on one leg and crawl, pull myself up, and so many other movements got so much better.  Now, post recovery, I work diligently to keep the new skills I learned while injured.  Not the crutches though…may they burn in hell.

Do your PT, and listen to your doctor.  I, admittedly, only went to PT once.  But when I did, I did so with the intention of picking my PT’s brain so I could go home and do it, for real.  She showed me how to work on my deficits, got me over the mental barrier of high impact and back to running.  She also showed me how to test my injury to make sure I was progressing in my workouts back to full strength and balance.  If you don’t have a gym, like I do, and a strong knowledge the body and strength and condition, I would recommend going to all your sessions and doing everything they tell you to do diligently.  I asked a lot of questions of my doctor, and I took well researched advice from professional I know and respect about exercise and supplements to hasten my recovery.  I pushed my limits safely and I always made sure it was OK with my doc.  His answer was typically pleasing,”As long as you are not bearing weight on the broken bone….go for it.” Know the difference between pain, and hard…pain is never OK.

 

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Most grateful for my son, chilling with me during my recovery.

Practice gratitude.  Be thankful for all that you are, have and can do.  Life and mobility are a blessing.  When you start to look around at all the things you can be grateful for when you are injured or down, when you recover they world looks just that much more fantastic.  I still get up everyday and think how amazing it is that I can walk, run, skate, jump, move, breathe.  Never take those things for granted.

Stay Connected. So what you can’t participate like you used to.  Go anyway, cheer on your teammates or training-mates.  Volunteer for non-playing positions or administrative tasks.  Staying around the things and people you love will keep your spirits up and you may even find something else you are good at.  I coached most of my teams practices during my injury, and hobbled my way through leading group fitness classes.  I even learned some sweet new exercises to share with everyone.  I also learned how to be a stronger verbal cuer, and how to explain to do things without showing everything.  This just made me a better coach, and trainer.

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Back to my old shenanigans, with a nifty ankle brace.

Set a Goal and commit to it.  If your injury is one you will fully recover from, set a goal to do something you always wanted to do or did before your injury.  I signed up for Tough Mudder pretty much right after I got my boot off.  I knew I would be six months out, and I figured that was a good time to run 11 miles and slay some obstacles.  Having a goal like that can often really put things into perspective, and force you to forge ahead even on your most down days.  Make is SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Specific) and you will be on your way to being more bad ass then before in no time.

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Felt so good to put these back on!

Don’t give up.  Injury is rarely a career ender.  Especially if you are new to a sport, or activity, don’t just throw in the towel.  If you loved it, and you cared enough to break yourself off, then you were challenging yourself, and that is how you get better.  Failure truly is the precursor to success, so just keep swimming.

 

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