It’s been a long and eventful week! The high point was definitely hearing that I didn’t need surgery on my ankle (yay!) and now it’s just a long, slow road back to recovery. I’m going to chart my journey in the hopes that it will be useful to someone out there; I personally have scoured many a running blog looking for tips and tricks on injury recovery, as well as the therapeutic benefit of knowing that someone out there is going through the same struggles and frustrations. So here we go.
I was lucky enough to see a physio immediately after being discharged from the care of the orthopaedic surgeon on Tuesday. I have a set of exercises that focus on:
- building range of motion (ankle circles, flexing and pointing my feet, peddling my feet out)
- stability (learning to stand on both feet again)
- all-round strength (wall squats and glute bridges)
I’ve been so grateful for my free NHS healthcare; in particular how focused all the specialists have been not just on getting me back to normal, but to be able to run at the level I was previously. That being said, I’m pretty sure I’m a nightmare patient, with my long list of questions and concerns. I’ve also found myself asking about all kinds of questionable complementary therapies I would never usually believe in if I weren’t so desperate!
Who’d have thought it- I’m getting hydrotherapy on the NHS! I could not be more grateful right now that this particular set of doctors and physios seems to care about me and my physical activity. However, no matter how glamorous and high-tech hydrotherapy sounds, it’s actually very humbling. I have to learn to stand again, as well as practice the motion of walking whilst held up by the water’s buoyancy. As someone who previously ran like a maniac, it’s been tricky to accept how difficult and painful simple exercises like these have become. That being said, I’m lucky enough not to be in too much pain, aside from what’s to be expected from rehab.
This one is tricky. I’m barely exercising, which means my metabolism has ground to a halt. That being said, I’ve been given strict talking-tos from my doctors about the perils of under-eating when recovering from a traumatic injury; something they see frequently in athletes. I’m trying to make my peace with the fact that I may become a bit more doughy, but that it’s all for the greater good. I’m focusing on whole foods (for the most part), supplementing with Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin D, and eliminating alcohol completely for the duration.
I try to get outside for a hobble every day, as the fresh air does so much for my mental health. I’ve bought a kettle bell, and have been using it in conjunction with some weights and resistance bands I already had. It’s been a challenge to create at-home workouts with limited mobility, but I’ve been really enjoying it- getting a sweat on and some endorphins pumping makes a huge difference to my mood. Plus, I’m getting (gradually) closer to my 2017 pull up goal!
Where I’m at mentally
Ugh, this could be a long one. It’s difficult dealing with an injury and trying to remain positive, especially when you know that you’re going to be out for a long time. My main goal is to focus on the small, incremental steps that will get me where I need to be – one day at a time. That being said, it’s difficult. When running is your therapy and it’s suddenly taken away from you, it’s harder to cope with every other little thing that life throws at you. And when one of the things you’re struggling with is not being able to run, it all becomes a bit meta. Anyway. My current daily prescription is (at least 3 out of 4):
- Get outside
- Eat well
- Get some human interaction
- Move your body
I need to find other coping mechanisms, and that’s a good thing. I’ve been reading lots, as well as listening to audiobooks and podcasts in order to keep me engaged and stimulated. Thankfully I’m a voracious learner so there’s always something to keep me busy.
The takeaway of all this? This injury clearly sucks. That’s a given. But it’s also an opportunity for growth. If anything, it’s going to make me more resourceful and resilient, because I have no choice but to put my big girl panties on and deal with it. I don’t have the luxury of sitting around and moping about it (as tempting as it might be). I’m having to learn to lean on the people close to me, and take it a day at a time. And that’s a good life lesson after all!
Please tell me, how do you cope with injury? The mental and physical side of it!
Lots of love,