07 Aug Exercising With Injury
By Christine King
Everyone incurs an injury at some point in life. We’ve all been there…waiting, wanting to get back to the gym so badly you could cry. Unfortunately, in many cases people resume their “normal” activity too soon, resulting in re-injury and another four to six week set back. A very sad predicament for the dedicated gym-goer.
With a little patience and creativity, this situation can be completely avoided. One of our clients, Suzy, broke her fifth metatarsal and is in a boot for six to eight weeks. She’s a highly fit woman in her late 40s who regularly enjoys rock star, challenging workouts. Contraindications for her fracture include weight-bearing activities. Like with all clients we follow our motto “Exercise Anything That Moves.”
Seated and lying face down or up are highly powerful positions to challenge every muscle group, of course except for the involved limb. “Wow, I’ll never again make fun of people who do chair exercises!” she continued, “This is really tough.”
Having a properly trained professional guide you through any form of exercise while injured is essential. Unless your doctor prohibits activity, you can experience a great workout and focus on areas that may not receive as much attention during your regular workouts.
Another famous example of returning to athletics too soon is the case of Dizzy Dean. In 1937, Dean was pitching in the All-Star game for the National League. A batter hit the ball onto Dean’s foot and broke his toe. Dean’s had returned to pitching before his toe fully healed. As a result in his one game come back he irreparably ruined his shoulder, ending his career.
The body is an amazing being. Without using any thought process, the body always seeks a route to compensate and use other structures to get the job done. Unfortunately for Dean, this resulted in giving up his career and passion, baseball.
Laura, a 30-year-old avid runner, was told by her doctor that her knees were a wreck and she could no longer run. He also mandated her workouts couldn’t include knee bending or extending, at least initially. Creativity kicks in when working with an athletic, highly active woman who wants to increase her heart rate and work her legs within the confines of the doctor’s orders. Laura was skeptical, however, after the first one-hour session she was astounded. She was sweating, out of breath and pleased to learn she could get in a great workout, raising her heart rate and kicking in the endorphins.
We helped a pro golfer recover from extensive shoulder surgery. Unfortunately, he was treated post-op by a physical therapist who pushed him too hard, causing a setback. Once our work began, we only worked his shoulder and arm in a pain-free range of motion. Keeping the joint happy is critical for recovery. We were under tremendous pressure as he needed to be back on the golf course in six weeks.
There’s always temptation on the part of the patient and the professional to push just a little more. However, it isn’t the proper strategy. With enormous patience on both sides and working together three times per week for the six weeks he got on that golf course and played pain-free. Now, two years later he’s still playing like a pro with no pain.
The lessons learned from these examples are vast.
- Follow doctor’s orders
- Never push through pain
- Always seek professional guidance
- When there’s a will, there’s a way, “Exercise anything that moves.”
- Ice after the workout to reduce any inflammation in the joint.
- Be patient. You will recover and resume activities if you follow the above advice.