As some of you may know I recently injured my hip flexors during a DofE walk, thankfully it was on the last day and I managed to hobble to the finish. I’ve almost fully recovered I’ve only just been allowed back into the gym, I was very, very excited! Anyway not being able to move, or do much at all really, let me think about what being injured actually felt like and how I dealt with it.
First on a not so serious not, crutches suck… like they look fun and they’re fun to play around on, but the second you’re actually depend on them they really suck.
I’m always in the queue for a go on the crutches when one of my friends has them, there’s a weird sense of joy from swinging around on crutches. But I was dependent on them, and that was the first problem, like everywhere I went I had to lug these crutches around with me. Let me tell you taking them in the car or onto a coach is not as easy as it may seem. Blisters… just the word makes me cringe now, once I’d been on crutches for a while I started to get rubs on the palm of my hands… not cool.
Steep hills are the ultimate enemy…closely, and very closely, followed by stairs of any shape, variety and height.
Normally I walk up and down stairs and think nothing of it, but when you have to think through how to actually get up them they seem a lot more daunting. Quick little tip for crutches and stairs “good foot to heaven, bad foot to hell”, basically lead with your good foot when going up stairs and lead with your bad foot when going down stairs, I’ve got to give credit to my amazing mum for this one.
I hate being dependent on others.
I know I like to be my own individual and I know I like to take responsibility for myself, but I did not know just how much. I found it hard to ask for help, especially when asking others to carry a bag or walk slower so I could keep up. I think part of me got offended when others offered help; I wanted to be independent and do things for myself. Not feeling deserving of this help also had a huge impact on my mental health, it would shock me when people offered to help, I would ask myself ‘why are they doing this’ or ‘is there some secret plan to steal my stuff that I don’t know about’ which of course is completely illogical and was not the case (I hope!).
Get good advice and treatment.
I am incredibly lucky to live in an area where the GP has a walk in center, along with friendly doctors. I was advised to see a Physio and my doctor recommended Nick Blade at Exeter Physio. The advice and treatment I got included minimal stretches and was more holistically focused, I learnt that the way I perceive pain and my previous experiences with being injured were having an effect on how I felt. The few stretches and exercises I was given were tailored to my situation and the facilities I had available. I have therefore spent a considerable amount of time looking a bit weird walking backwards in the pool at my local gym.
Be patient, even when you think everything is fine and healed, i.e. don’t go doing tire flips straight away.
I definitely learnt this the hard way, once I was given the go ahead to get back into exercise I immediately wanted to hit the gym and smash a legs session. I was advised to avoid doing any lower body free weights or heavy weights for a while, so I didn’t go for a heavy legs session, reluctantly. I did however do a summer fit class that included tire flips which turned out to be considerably painful and I definitely needed a bag of peas on my hip afterwards. More learning for me. Don’t push myself beyond breaking point; it is not worth it, ever.
I really, really enjoy going to the gym, and I should be thankful that I am in a position where I can run, jump, lift weights and enjoy these things.
Its like the old saying “you don’t know what you had until its gone”. Being injured gave me a new appreciation for what I can do and what I have achieved in my fitness recently. A break from exercise also allowed me to appreciate my progress and re-evaluate how I train. I’ve decided I would like to get more into weight training, and see where this will take me.
Have you had any injuries that have stopped you playing sport or exercising? I would love to know how you dealt with this!