Recovering from an Injury

As you may or may not know, I suffered from a foot injury (torn tendon) after I ran my first marathon back in October.

At mile 24 I felt this sharp pain in my right foot. It was incredibly painful the rest of the marathon and I could hardly put weight on it for the next 3-4 days. Even when I could walk normally again, I would always have some background pain and I definitely couldn’t run.

I later learned that the chronic hip and side pain I’d been having for the past six months was the true reason for me tearing the tendon in my foot. The pain wasn’t major enough for me to seek help, but in the end it was the reason I was sidelined from a sport I love for five weeks.

You can learn more about that in this post – it’s fascinating to think about how connected our bodies are!

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I have been running again for over a month now. My first run back was November 15 and I am back up to running 10K consecutively. Here are some of things that I think really helped me recover from my injury quickly and efficiently!

Cross-Training

When I couldn’t run I didn’t just give up on activity all together. I swam, biked, did strength training classes and did hot yoga. I think the swimming and biking especially helped me keep my cardio up so when I did start running again I didn’t get winded easily.

Start Slow

I didn’t jump right back into hour-long runs. In fact, my first run was only 15 minutes (1.5 miles) long. I continued to slowly build up my mileage by 0.5 to 1 mile at a time and I didn’t focus on speed at all. I was happy running 10:30 – 11:00 minute miles as long as I was running! I spent the last four weeks slowly building up to 10K and ran the distance I used to run 2-3 times per week for the first time last week. It went really well!

Get Treatment

I decided to get treatment in the form of the Chiropractor. Through A.R.T. (Active Release Therapy or Muscle Stripping) she worked out the tightness in my hips/side/back that led to the injury in the first place. I have seen her six times over the past month and she has helped me SO MUCH! The chronic pain I was having is almost completely gone now and it might sound weird, but my muscles feel loose and supple after a treatment.

I will likely continue seeing her once every 4-6 weeks depending on what my training schedule is like.

Treatment could be in the form of a doctor, a massage therapist, a physiotherapist, a chiropractor – whatever! But if you’re injured, I highly recommend you find the treatment that works for you and stick with it!

Yoga

I have been practicing more yoga than ever, 4.5 – 6 hours per week, and it’s helped a lot. My calves/legs/hips feel less tight and spending 90 minutes focusing on how my body moves has really helped me become more in tune with my body when doing other things – like running.

I’ve done a lot of different workout routines over the years but I think yoga + running is the best one yet. If I could just find the will to do some strength training a couple of times a week I would be set.

Bottom Line

These are things that have helped me recover from my injury – they might not work for everyone. Bottom line is, if you’re injured in any way stop running, seek treatment and rest! I really fought the fact that I would have to take 5-6 weeks off of running when I was injured but it ended up being the best thing for me. And now I’m coming back stronger than ever!

What are your tips for recovering from an injury?

20 Responses

  1. Kelly says:

    I love when you posts on weekends. Just so you know.
    I think your tips are basically my tips. I’m so glad your injury healed so quickly- well I’m sure it didn’t feel quickly to you. Sadly I’ve been totally slacking on running myself lately because it’s way too cold to run outside (at least for wimps like me) and the treadmill isn’t sucking me in quite as much. I’m hoping in the next couple of weeks I can get back into it. I have to remember to go slow like you said… that’s so hard to do but so important.

  2. Stephany says:

    I think the biggest tip is to rest. Rest, rest, rest. When I twisted my ankle in July, I knew I had to take a few weeks off and ice it up. I think I took 2 or 3 weeks off and when I ran again, my ankle was a million times better. It made me appreciate my ability to run and be active, I’ll tell you that! 🙂

  3. Lauren says:

    That must feel so nice to run long again! Running + yoga is my favorite combo, and hip openers are some of my favorite poses.

  4. Laura says:

    I completely agree that yoga and running are the best combo. I got into the habit of doing both because I happen to like both, but realize now how they compliment each other in so many ways.

  5. Don’t ignore it! Last year, mine just got progressively worse and worse because I kept going on it (thinking it was just a tight muscle or soreness). I wouldn’t have ended up with over 8 weeks on the mend had I actually listened to my body within the first week of feeling “uncomfortable”.

  6. You made the right – patient – choices. I suck at patience ! I pulled a hamstring a few weeks ago and I just keep running on it and ignoring the pain. I’m way too good at ignoring pain!

  7. Nicole says:

    Rest is very important & slowly building things back up! 🙂

  8. Caroline says:

    I’ve been meaning to look into ART! I haven’t been able to run pain-free since September. And have no idea why : (
    This is not okay.

  9. I love my chiropractor; this is well documented. Good choice. I can also recommend working on your core strength. Helps with the tendon tightness and gives you nice abs.

    With all of that cross training, are you thinking about a triathlon this summer?

    • MissAmber says:

      A triathlon (small one – I’m thinking sprint distance) is definitely in my plans for 2011 🙂

  10. That’s awesome that you’ve been able to get healthy and spend so much time doing yoga! I’d love to actually take some classes here in Eugene.

    The hardest thing for me during an injury is forcing myself not to run for a few weeks. It is soooo hard. But generally if I’m seeing my PT and she prescribes it, then I listen to her bc I’m paying for the treatment so it only makes sense. But sometimes, I have a bit of an injury and I just ignore it and run through the pain. Stubborn gets the best of me sometimes.

  11. Rest, heat, ice, gentle exercise. And time, lots of time.

    It’s hard when you’re active and impatient to get back to what you love.

    I injured a rotor cuff (sp?). Doc threatened to do surgery, but I couldn’t afford to miss three months or more of what little work that’s left to keep food on the table. Very scary! I ran away.

    It’s been nine months now and the pain is almost gone. It may never be perfect, but it doesn’t interfere with anything now and it keeps getting better day by day. At first when it was really hurting, I’d use moist heat followed by ice packs — effective! Discovered standing in a hot shower not only defused pain but increased mobility, so started doing some yoga exercises under warm running water. That was surprisingly effective. That sort of thing plus just trying to use the arm as normally as possible without getting extreme seemed, over time, to encourage healing.

  12. Great post! For me, the biggest thing was not doing too much too fast. I had to really ease back into running. As much as I wanted to jump back in, head first – I knew I had to take it easy!

  13. SP says:

    I’m a pretty new runner, so injury stories always scare me – I hate the idea of not being able to run for weeks/months! It sounds like you got some serious cross training in and really took care of your injury. Glad you are on the road to a full recovery!

  14. Jessica says:

    I’m glad to hear you’re doing better! I find that rest and taking it slow really help. I also find ways to stay active that don’t require a lot of pressure on the foot too like cross training. Keeps me active without the stress.

  15. Emily Jane says:

    I’m still in the process of figuring out what the cause of my chronic back pain is – lately I’ve just taken to “sucking it up” and exercising anyway because nobody seems to be able to give me an answer, and I feel bad just sitting still and doing nothing. It’s probably not good for me, but I suppose sitting on my arse all week isn’t that good for me either lol. I’m really glad to hear you’re doing better though!

  16. Lisa says:

    Those are all great tips. And I can relate. I’ve had several injuries. Taking things slowly really does help!

  17. kilax says:

    Great post! I am happy you are well enough to run again! What helps me recover from an injury is actually more mental. I read LOTS of running blogs when I can’t run. It makes me feel better, and I think that helps!

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