The injury files part 2 – How to rehabilitate

It’s going to happen in every runners life.

Injury.

It’s not fun, it’s never pretty and it can leave us feeling deflated and miserable. Not only can our injuries cause us pain and inconvenience, not to mention a lot of money in specialists, physiotherapy and lost event registrations etc. they can cause considerable frustration. One minute you are used to running every day and the next you are sidelined and don’t know what to do with yourself!

A month ago I did my ankle on a trail run as I was training for The North Face race and I did considerable damage. At the time I thought that my chances of running ever again was slim! Yes, it was that bad at the time. But as the days wore on the pain went and the recovery began.

I found a physio who said I could run, but just to manage the swelling etc. I even managed to run my 36km long run at Megalong a few weeks after. That didn’t do it any favours however. So the rule is don’t rehabilitate like I did! :/

The most important thing I have learned in rehabilitation is to listen to your body. Also pay attention to your physiotherapists advice. Unfortunately my injury doesn’t sound like it is as straightforward as once thought, but that doesn’t mean that yours isn’t.

These are some key things I think will help you get back running sooner:

1. Seek medical advice right away. When you injure yourself go and get an opinion as soon as you can from a physio.

2. Start RICE as soon as possible. Rest, ice, compression, elevation. This helps to heal that affected area, limiting swelling to the injury. This is an extremely important phase in your recovery. Continue to do this while there is swelling present. I am still doing this 4 weeks later.

3. Don’t get back in to running too hard and too fast. Take it slow and build up. This might mean that you do walk/run intervals and shorter sessions to start.

4. Find something to distract your mind. If you are like me you will need to keep busy so that you don’t notice how miserable you really are because you can’t run!

5. Find another form of cross training that can keep you fit while you recover so that when you are ready to get back out there you won’t find it as hard!. I have been swimming and doing core work which although doesn’t compare to running for me, it’s keeping me out of the asylum!

6. Don’t forgo your dreams and plans and goals for the year. Keep them at the forefront of your mind and plan how you are going to work towards them when you return.

Injury is hard, rehabilitation is hard, but when you recover and you get back out there you will be stronger mentally because of what you have endured. Be strong. Push on.

**image from google images**

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