Saturday, October 02, 2010

Keep Your Groove On: Stay Fit During Recovery After an Injury

Notes from Wendy

       Before I can go too much into my recovery plan, I should probably explain what I did to my foot. As I said in my last post, I over did it by adding hills to every run. Of course, at first I thought whatever had popped in my foot would heal on its own so I just rested for a few days and tried a short run once it no longer hurt to walk or jog around my living room. That short run was great at first, but ended in excruciating pain. I realized this was a serious injury and called for a visit with my doc. He made a tentative diagnosis of ligament tear, which was wrong, but he sent me on to an orthopedic surgeon who knew what to look for and diagnosed the stress fracture. Unfortunately, the time from the initial injury, to diagnosis and being placed in a boot took over a month. Yep, for a whole month I walked around on a broken foot. Once I had the boot in place, my 6 to 8 weeks in it started.

       Nearly everyone ends up injured at some point. Even if you are smart and do not injure yourself running, you still have the potential to step wrong off a curb, get in a car accident by no fault of your own, or be clobbered by a shopping cart on Black Friday, these things just happen. So, what to do when your usual workout routine is off the schedule? Find something, anything, to keep moving! Anyone can do it and it is tons of fun.) I also have good results using a foam roller on sore muscles and tight joints, particularly my ITBand.

       Rheumatoid arthritis has taught me a lot about the importance of movement even when we feel it is impossible. Are you sore all over from a marathon? Go for a walk. Stress fracture in your foot? Lift some weights. Chronic illness? Don't give up, do what you can for now and when things are on the upswing, you will improve even more.  If you are injured, do something so that once you are healed and ready to get back to training, you haven’t taken a huge step backwards. Taking advantage of an excuse to be lazy will only set you up for another injury. A forum friend said that if she had a cast on, she would just spend 6 weeks on the couch. I can only think about how much hard work it would take to get over 6 weeks of lethargy!

       My doc told me I can do pretty much anything I want at the gym provided I can do it painlessly and in my boot. So far that includes the upright stationary bike, elliptical trainer, stair mill (like walking up the down escalator), and almost all of the weight machines (obviously working calves is out.) I am working out 6 days a week with 5 hours a week of cardio, plus weights, and stretching, in whatever combination meets my needs, (generally the cardio is done in 1 hour blocks.) I now have 3 weeks in the boot done, hopefully only 3 to go, and feel good about my new workout routine. I am also taking supplements of calcium, magnesium, and Vit. D, along with watching the rest of my diet (also so I don’t gain weight on my running hiatus) while staying as active as possible. With limited mobility, it is important to stay flexible too. I love doing something fun like Yoga or belly dancing (which is amazing for core muscles and hip flexibility, I highly recommend this video, anyone can do it and it is tons of fun.)  I also have had good results using a foam roller for sore muscles, tight joints, and ITBand problems.

       I hope no one reading this ever has an injury to contend with, but if they do, I hope they will remember this and do everything in their power to keep moving, keep fit, and stay strong!


Grammie Brown said...

I am so inspired by your post! I am really trying to be careful as I train for a marathon. Injury can happen to anyone at any time, but, as you show,with a positive attitude and determination, you can overcome the injury and continue towards your goal.

robison52 said...

I have a hip injury that comes and goes, but lately it has been visiting me frequently. I've been doing hip exercises and also use a wooden rolling pin that's original use was for baking...I should purchase a foam rolling pin as the wooden one isn't working for me.

Allen said...

Quite a few years ago, I had surgery for a hernia and couldn't run for four weeks. I could walk, though, and I walked for the same time I had been running (an hour). After the four weeks, I continued my running schedule. I don't remember having to reduce the length of my runs, so I don't think I lost much conditioning during the four weeks.

WendyBird said...

That is good to know Allen, Thanks!
I went to spin class today. Probably shouldn't have since my foot was a bit sore by the end and I had to stop doing anything that involved standing on the pedals. Anyway, I was hoping that after a month of stationary bike and weights I might do better in the class. Nope, still kicked my behind :-)
I'll give it a couple more weeks before I try again. In them mean time, MORE CARDIO!

gmobe84 said...

I hope I can still do the things I do right now when I'm your age. I very muh enjoy running 5k's or just simply going out for a nice 5-6 mile run. Running gives a sense of relaxtion and peace of mind, well at least to me it does. I have goal of working my way up to running a half marathon and then if I can manage running full marathon. Keep up your good work! Your an inspiration to all ages groups!

Runners Passion said...

Injuries can be discouraging but it looks like you are doing a really good job of keeping up at least some kind of training while waiting for your foot to heal. I had a bad injury in my foot back in college (torn plantar fascia) and was stuck in a boot for like 6 weeks plus couldn't really run again for like half a year. It was torture but I kept sane by doing some swim workouts and lifting weights. Good luck and you'll be back on the roads in no time!

irene said...

Wow, you are a real inspiration to me!