Recovering From an Injury: When You Should Rest and How to Get Back Into a Training Schedule

Hop-a-long Catastrophe. That was a nickname I earned at the tender age of two. I’m one of many, though you might not see us at first glance. We’re a sporty bunch, perhaps suffering from more verve than athleticism, but we attack our activities with gusto. Occasionally, though, the activities attack back and we wind up injured. As I mentioned, it started early for me. My pediatrician, an incredibly patient man, was discussing my ability to get in trouble with my Mom. As he spoke, I careened down the hall of his office, slammed into a door, landed on my rump, vaulted back up, and tottered off again without skipping a beat. The doctor and my Mom both sighed simultaneously. I was a lost cause. To date – and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things – I have:
  • Sprained my wrist from gymnastic vaulting
  • Sprained both ankles
  • Fallen out of a tree (luckily not too high up)
  • Taken a header while going downhill on a bike (that one really hurt)
  • Lost my balance while balancing on a guardrail
  • Fallen backwards down a flight of stairs
  • Been brushed off the back of a horse while riding by a clothesline
  • Twisted my arm badly when I “pulled a crab” during crew practice
  • Fallen into a lake through a hole in a wharf
  • Fallen off a chair while trying to close blinds
  • Wiped out in spectacular fashion while Rollerblading
  • Pretended I was Janet Jackson dancing in a music video and dislocated my kneecap
  • Come down with double tendonitis in both knees by over-training for a marathon
  • Slipped on ice and fractured my arm
  • The “infamous sledding incident” (that one also really hurt)
All of these incidents, except for the horseback riding (and I’m still wary of horses) required an ACE™ Brand Elastic Bandage. I have a large supply of them in my home, along with ice packs, so when ACE™ Brand approached me to sponsor a blog post I was more thrilled to work with 3M and replenish my supply with their latest innovations.
HOW TO RECOVER FROM AN INJURY I see this all the time: my gung-ho friends in social media have a set-back, hobble around for a few days, and as soon as they are able, return right back to their injury-causing ways. Stop. Here are a few tips that will make for a quicker recovery. R.I.C.E. Yes, the traditional “rest – ice – compression – elevation” approach works well. If we all heeded this advice more often, we’d suffer from less nagging injuries. Let me emphasize that rest likely means one day longer than you think it does. If your injury is starting to feel better, consider light movements of the affected joints or area. But continue to ice, especially if there’s still swelling or puffiness, and be kind to yourself by taking things slow.
ACE Brand Elastic Bandage wrist wrap

Always compress up towards the heart!

Compress up. This is a trick I learned from a physical therapist (during the Janet Jackson dislocated knee incident). When wrapping with an ACE™ Brand Elastic Bandage, start below the injury and work up towards the heart. So if it’s your ankle, start at the arch of the foot and wrap towards the knee. The PT said this helps to minimize the swelling of the joint and I’ve found that to be true. Resume slowly.  I think runners are the worst at following this advice, at least among my friends. You can barely hobble and think it’s a good idea to do hill work? No! You need to carefully reintroduce the injured joint to movement. Start light and gradually work back up to your usual routine, listening closely to what your body is telling you. A good rule of thumb is that if things hurt more after the workout you did too much and need to back off. Find a sporty physician and a great physical therapist.  The best doctor I ever had was an orthopedist who also happened to work with the New England Patriots and Boston Bruins. I had fractured my arm but was still doing weight-bearing exercises on it as I taught my Pilates clients. I knew it was dumb, but nothing bad had happened yet, so I kept going. When I told this to the orthopedist, he looked at me and said, “Sure, just wait until it gives and then you’ll need surgery.” This stopped me cold and I followed his advice from that point forward until I made a full recovery. As for a great physical therapist, they will push you at just the right level to return you to peak condition, even if it hurts a little. PTs, by the way, are licensed to work with you “through pain” and get you healthy. Your personal trainer or coach is NOT. (And neither are you unless you spent four to eight years earning a physical therapy degree.) So if someone who’s not a PT or a doctor tells you to work out while it hurts, stop taking their advice immediately. Hop-a-long Catastrophe is part of who I am and I’ve learned to adjust, even wearing my wraps with pride, ready to share my latest story, perhaps with a touch of embellishment. Thankfully I’m not injured at the moment, but it’s the summer, so it’s only a matter of time. How about you … what’s the worst injury you’ve had? And yes, while I am working with ACE™ Brand for this story, these words are most definitely my own.
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About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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One Response to Recovering From an Injury: When You Should Rest and How to Get Back Into a Training Schedule

  1. David August 20, 2014 at 2:37 am #

    One should always try to wear as much as fitness accessories to avoid Injuries.I always have my gripped compression socks with me.

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