Injuring yourself when you’re feeling committed to your fitness goals can really offset your motivation + progress. Not to mention, it can be hard to maintain your positivity when you’re recovering + unable to perform to the level you may want to.
Whether you’re recovering from a small muscle pull or something more intense + requiring physical therapy, it is critical that you take proper time to rest + make sure you’re fully ready for activity! Listening to your body is crucial — if something doesn’t feel right or normal, it probably isn’t. Learn from my mistakes.
Last fall, I was attempting to train for a half marathon to get myself back into a healthy routine after my senior year of college. It was still early in my training, but I was running with a pair of shoes that were way too old [more than a year — *bad* idea] + running infrequently because of my work schedule. I had light pain near my achilles tendon while I ran, but I chalked it up to being out of shape + ran through it. I ignored the issue, which only worked for so long.
During my family’s trip to Disney World, last October, I went for a run around the resort. I was sore as I ran like usual, but after I finished, I immediately knew something wasn’t right. The pain would usually dissipate if I rubbed my ankle//achilles + I’d be able to walk without pain. This time, I felt the pain constantly + it didn’t go away after stretching or when I woke up in the morning.
I went to a doctor after my trip + received the verdict: tendinitis. I was referred to a physical therapist, + after my first appointment I threw my old shoes away, got fitted for + bought a fresh pair of Nikes, + started the recovery process.
I learned quickly that recovering from an injury is not always an easy process. On some days, I would leave my physical therapy appointments feeling more discomfort + soreness than I had when I started, but you need to trust the process. Some of the exercises you’re assigned may seem tedious at times — do not skip them or cut corners: the doctor assigns them for a reason.
It’s been a little more than six months since I finished physical therapy + for the most part, I feel infinitely better than before I started! There are some days when I still have pain, but going to a physical therapist helped me learn how to alleviate this pain + taught me ways to work on strengthening my ankles to prevent injury again. It’s an on-going process, but had I not seen a doctor + figured out the actual issue — I probably would have written off running as “not for me” when that wasn’t true at all! It’s hard not to get discouraged + frustrated, but injuring yourself because of exercise does not mean that you’re incapable of reaching your goals, it just means you might need a little help getting there!
Hopefully you won’t have to deal with injuring yourself, but if you do here our four tips to help you recover!
1] LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
No one knows what is or isn’t normal for your body better than you, so don’t be afraid to speak up when something feels off. Even if it’s something small [like I thought at first], noticing it + confronting the problem early can save you a lot of pain + trouble later on. If you think there’s a problem, don’t be afraid to consult a doctor. They’ll be glad to help! Which brings me to…
2] USE A REAL DOCTOR, NOT WEBMD OR YAHOO ANSWERS
No disrespect to the fine people of the internet, but a Google search does not supplement the experience of seeing an actual doctor. The internet may be a good place to help figure out what could be the cause of your issues, but you *should not* use it to self-diagnose + treat your injury. Judging your injury based off someone else’s experience could cause you to severely downplay or overestimate the actual problem. Save yourself the time + stress of reading through every possible diagnosis + have a doctor look it over in-person.
3] GIVE YOURSELF LOTS OF TLC
After seeing a doctor, make sure to listen to them when they give you a recommendation for how to treat or rehab your injury. Whether you’re just resting for a few days or seeing a physical therapist: be patient + take your recovery seriously. Make sure you complete recommended rehab exercises + do so with proper form//suggested adjustments by your doctor. If you don’t, you risk further injury + even longer periods of recovery. It’s good to push yourself here + there, but that’s for when you’re healthy. If you’re eager to get back into an exercise routine, ask your doctor for recommendations for exercises that won’t slow your recovery. Chances are there are options out there, just make sure you’re picking the correct ones.
4] DON’T PUSH THROUGH THE PAIN
When you do start exercising again, don’t push through pain that shouldn’t be there. Recovering can be a slow + frustrating process, but it is extremely important! You’ll feel much better if you relax + ease your way through it instead of rushing + risking re-injury.
If you have any questions about an previous injury [or a potentially undiagnosed injury], don’t be afraid to see a doctor. They’ll be able to answer your questions better than anyone — we want you to stay #inCHAARG + not out-of-commission!
+Ali [ali.inchaarg], VirtCHAARG from Philly