6 Ways to Overcome an Injury
It’s been 2.5 months since THE incident. The one where I mysteriously fell down a hill during a trail race and seriously messed up my ankle. Read all about it here if you want the deets! My favorite part is when I mention the doctor saying healing will be 4-6 weeks and I was upset about that. Here we are 11 weeks later still not fully healed….
BUT I am definitely healing slowly but surely. I’ve never had a serious (serious being one that took me out completely for awhile, I know it could’ve been much worse!) injury before, so this whole process is totally new to me. It has been anything but easy, and I’m assuming I can’t be the first one to feel this way. To be honest, it’s actually been one of the most challenging times of my life. But I’ve learned a few things in the last couple months, and I’m hoping that I can at least offer some advice for others going through something similar! Here’s a list of what’s helped me get through this injury/assist in recovery:
1- Leaning into the injury
I know, what the heck does that even mean? It means listening to the lessons you are meant to learn and actually accepting the reality of what is. The first couple of weeks after I fell, I was so literally pissed off all the time. I simply could not believe this happened and couldn’t understand it. Read-playing the victim. Then I gave myself a pep talk and decided it was time to end the pitty party and stop arguing with reality. Instead, I started asking myself “What am I meant to learn here?” Of course it wasn’t ideal, but it happened for a reason so I better make the most of it.
This goes along with the above. Once I accepted what was actually my current situation, it was time to decide how to deal with it mentally. This was HUGE for me. You can be really grumpy about something you can’t control, or you can search (hard) for the positive and try your best to stay in the light. I actually created a ‘note’ in my phone to look at when I was feeling really down. I had to constantly remind myself that this was temporary, I will be able to run eventually, and to take this opportunity to slow down and relax because that is exactly what I needed.
3-Switching up my workouts
The whole slowing down thing while on crutches was hard, but I think the worst part has been not being able to run! Movement is really my medicine, and running is basically my drug of choice! Not only was running out, but the first month or so while on crutches I was really limited on the types of workouts I could do. But my arms totally got ripped that first few weeks. And then- I found a love for swimming!! Especially while on crutches and the medical boot, I felt human again in the pool. It turns out I actually didn’t know how to swim, and my teenage swim team days were long behind me. The first few times in the pool I was actually trying to do laps without goggles, which makes me giggle now. It was a very humbling experience, and I literally taught myself how to swim laps via YouTube and creeping on the elderly swimming in the lanes next to me. I’m not saying I’m ready for Ironman yet, but my skills have definitely improved. I highly recommend swimming for anyone with an injury if it is available to you, it seriously saved me!
In addition to adding in more upper body workouts and yoga, I also discovered some awesome foot injury specific workout videos on Youtube. This one was my go-to cardio!
Obviously I busted some moves in that boot at our friends’ wedding. *notice the awkward stance
Of course I didn’t forget about nutrition during this whole epidemic. My body was working really hard those first few weeks to heal itself, and I was hungry all the time! I mean what else is new. Plus those crutches are a serious workout! I didn’t do anything super crazy as far as nutrition goes, besides listening to my body and what it needed. I was sure to eat some extra protein and up the veggie content even more than usual! The first couple weeks after the fall, I unfortunately had to take Advil or Ibuprofen often. Something I usually don’t do, but it was necessary in this case! I tried to stop taking them as soon as possible. As soon as I could, I turned to my trusty ole turmeric supplement. I was taking this turmeric daily to help with the swelling. I also started taking this Arnica supplement daily as well, which I believe truly helped with the pain and bruising!!
I eventually was able to get in with an incredible sports medicine doctor and we started a prolotherapy treatment that helped immensely! I had never even heard of it before, but I swear it was magic. Prolotherapy is an injection of a dextrose solution at the exact site of the injury that stimulates the body’s healing process for injured ligaments or tendons. It essentially promotes positive inflammation that tricks the body into repair mode to start laying down new tissue in the weakened area. I did this twice, and it helped so much! It would be a little extra swollen for about 24 hours, then I would feel immediate relief. This was a game changer, and I highly encourage it!!
With any challenge in life, the best thing you can do is get yourself a team of people cheering you on. I could not have gotten through this time without Chris, my parents, my besties, and the online community giving me words of encouragement daily! Two days after I flew back from Portland and was wheelchaired through the airport (I thought I could crutch my way through the airport with luggage-yeah that’s funny) Chris had to fly to Colorado and I was seriously helpless. Thank heavens for my mom waiting on me every second!! I probably would’ve been stuck in a ditch somewhere if it weren’t for her. And of course we can’t forget Biz driving my ass 4000 miles to Alaska (my ankle is my right foot! I can drive now thank goodness) and setting up camp for us by herself everyday for two weeks. And the encouraging texts from LC when I felt like the neglected athlete inside me was dying. And of course Christopher Babeuhh’s daily reminder to just keep going and keep my head up. And all the other friends and clients and frollowers (online friends, duh) that reached out with love and inspiration and advice. We aren’t meant to face tough times alone! Eternally grateful for all the support and help I received/still am receiving through it all.
If you are going through an injury at a less than ideal time in your life ( I mean is there ever a good time for such a thing?), just know that you got this!!! You WILL get through it and you WILL come out stronger. I just know it! In the meantime, do what you can with what you have. And keep that chin up!