5 Ways to Deal with an Injury

I was ready to take this week by storm! Coming out of a great weekend, I was energized, determined and eager to make some headway on my health goals for 2015.

The alarm went off at 5:30 and I shot out of bed ready to teach my 6:00am class. I chose one of my favorite sets for class and before I knew it we were at the cool down.

After dropping the kids off at school I was determined to get my own workout in for the day. (Side note: As a group fitness instructor it’s important for me to get my own workout because when leading a class I am focused on creating an experience that meets the class needs while monitoring form and cuing the moves.) I headed to the gym and put in a solid 45 minutes of intense exercise. I gave it my all and felt empowered by the effort I put out during my workout.

At the end of class we split into two teams to play dodge ball. Not only was it fun, it was competitive. Our team was down to just a few people, I had my eye on the person holding the ball and in anticipation of the ball flying my way I tried to cut right. That’s when it happened. C-R-A-C-K!! I heard it, I felt it and I knew instantly something wasn’t right. The person next to me even heard the crack.

Limping out of the gym I headed straight for Urgent Care for x-rays. As a personal trainer and group fitness instructor you can imagine the thoughts running through my head. I immediately reached out to all my prayer warriors and asked them to pray for me and my injury. As I sat there the pain lessened and my hopes climbed that it was nothing more than a twisted foot that would heal in a day or so.

Well, that was partially the outcome. No break and thankfully no ligament damage, but one heck of a foot sprain. As I sit here 4 days later it’s still swollen, and rather than looking pale from the lack of sun, my foot is a bluish gray. Thankfully I have a boot that helps support my foot as I walk so I’m not just marooned to the sofa all day.

As I shared with my husband my irritation of the injury he reminded me that this was the perfect time to write about it – not at all what I wanted to hear. But he was right, the best thing that I can share with everyone right now is what to do when an unexpected injury takes you off the path of your goals.

foot in a boot

Injuries are part of pushing yourself.

Here are 5 things that you can do deal with an unexpected injury.

1. Follow the doctor’s orders

Believe me, I am not one that wants to slow down. So hearing that I need to RICE (rest, ice compress and elevate), was not music to my ears. But if I don’t do all of those things, I know the recovery time will be prolonged. So here I sit, writing my blog with my recently iced foot elevated on two pillows. Doctors don’t want you down for any longer than you have to be so take their orders to heart and follow through for a full recovery.

2. Listen to your body

There are times that our mind tells us we can and our body responds with quite the opposite. During the recovery process and afterwards it’s essential that you tune into how your body feels. There may be discomfort, but if there is pain, that is an indication that your body isn’t ready.

3. Take it slow

Coming out of a recovery period isn’t only about the affected area. Depending on how much time you had to take off you may have lost endurance or strength. Additionally, you may have developed ways to compensate for the injury that you need to correct to achieve proper form. Returning to the same level of activity immediately can result in another set-back or possibly a new injury.

4. Do what you can

I’m currently faced with a sprained foot so it goes without saying that cardio and leg exercises are out. But that doesn’t mean I can’t work my core or my upper body. My workouts are significantly modified but I am still doing them. In addition, it’s important now more than ever that I monitor my diet. My overall activity level is significantly less so my caloric intake needs to reflect that.

5. Appreciate health

Nothing like an injury to take you down to help you to appreciate having the freedom to physically do what you want, when you want. Apply that appreciation to your enthusiasm and dedication to healthy living when you return to 100%. We all only have one body, and one life, don’t take any of it for granted.

Over the next couple weeks I’ll continue to take it easy, and hopefully gradually begin to add cardio and leg exercises back to my routine. But in the meantime I will continue to RICE, remove the boot when my foot feels completely ready and not sooner, concentrate on building a stronger core and upper body, eat a healthy diet and look forward to getting back at it – again, only when I am fully ready.

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