728 ad

Time For Repairs

the Silver Strider onlinpresents 

ARTICLES

 brought to you by

route 16

 

Route 16 Run and Walk Shoe Store
6745 Kimball Drive, Gig Harbor

 

 

              Time For Repairs

 

by Cherie Langlois
7/27/20

Argh! I hate it when my knee (or back or hip or ___) suffers a breakdown, don’t you? And I really, really, really hate it when the problem interferes with my runs, or worse, curtails them completely. Like right now.

I’m currently dealing with a painful knee and impatiently counting down the seven days until my next cortisone injection. Due to meniscus wear and tear, my right knee tends to follow a predictable pattern—becoming sore and swollen, then increasingly stiff and “sticky” over time. I’ve been lucky, though: if I keep doing my physical therapy (PT) exercises—and beg my sports doc for an injection every four to six months—I’m good to go for a good long while.

But I still feel sorry for myself when I can’t run.  And yet I know injuries happen to runners and non-runners alike. They’re just a part of living and moving.

It helps to remember that when injury strikes and it’s time for repairs, the following six strategies will help get me back on the road to recovery. I hope they help you, too.

Disclaimer: I have no medical training. I’m merely a runner/walker/hiker/bicyclist/hobby farmer who has dealt with plenty of injury setbacks over the years. If you suspect a severe breakdown such as a broken bone, sprain, or ruptured disk, please seek medical help ASAP.

 

1. RICE
When a new injury occurs or an old issue flares anew, my number one repair strategy during the first few days is to RICE.

As most experienced runners know, RICE-ing doesn’t mean binging on a sticky white grain product.  RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation—a collection of helpful treatments to reduce swelling and inflammation:
Rest means to stop any activity that will lead to further damage (easier said than done, of course).
Ice is pretty self-explanatory—apply an ice pack to the affected area. Be sure to wrap it in a towel and keep the icing session to no more than 15 or 20 minutes to avoid skin damage.
Compression refers to snugly wrapping the injured area with a bandage or sports wrap—beware of doing this too tightly though.
Elevation means to prop the affected body part up at your heart level or slightly above.

2. Heat and massage.
After the RICE protocol, I turn to heat therapy to help alleviate pain and stiffness, and increase circulation at the injury site. A heat pack or hot bath does wonders when I have sore, stiff muscles or arthritis pain. As with icing, be careful not to overdo it or burn yourself.

Massage also seems to help ease pain and speed recovery. My self-massage arsenal includes two foam rollers, a nubby foam ball, and a cane-like massager. Oh, and also a car buffer (yes, you read that right—and no, massage is not its intended purpose so use only at your own risk).

3. Seek help from a professional.
If these first strategies haven’t led to healing progress, I schedule an appointment with either my chiropractor, sports medicine doctor, physical therapist, or massage therapist, depending on the nature of the injury.

In my experience, a knowledgeable and caring physical therapist is particularly worth their weight in gold—and I mean this literally. PT folks possess seemingly magical powers that will often make you feel better right away, and they know all of the proper exercises to teach you that will address your specific issue. What’s more, they can show you how to prevent injuring yourself again.

4. Stick with those PT exercises.
In my file cabinet I keep a fat folder full of PT exercises for various past injuries, from Achilles tendon issues to shin splints. During therapy, I’m always diligent about doing the prescribed exercises because they almost always help and I desperately want to get better fast. Also, I don’t want to disappoint my nice therapist.

After therapy stops and no one’s watching, however, it’s tempting to slack off. But I’ve found that adding various PT exercises to my weekly workout routine goes a long way toward preventing injuries. Bonus: Stretching and strengthening exercises are a great workout in themselves.

5. Keep moving if possible.
Moving around can be difficult when you hurt, but in my experience not moving hurts a whole lot more—physically and mentally. So during times when an injury keeps me from running, I find other ways to stay in motion. Right now walking, bicycling, and upper-body strength training give me the mood-boosting workouts I crave without aggravating my knee problem (much). If in doubt, ask your doctor or physical therapist what you can safely do to stay active during your recovery.

6. Try to stay positive.
Suffering a sports injury is never any fun, but it can be downright soul-crushing when you’ve worked diligently to train for a big event. I know it can be hard—I had to put my marathon dream on hold three different years due to health setbacks—but try to stay positive.

Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. Treat your PT exercises like they’re the big event and give yourself well-deserved praise for completing them. Look ahead to all of the awesome runs you’ll do when you’ve healed and eased back into training again (I finally completed that marathon last year).

Give your body the gift of time to repair. After all, time is often a wonderful healer in itself.

 

 

 

 

Comments are closed.