What are you supposed to do when you get injured? Should you stop training? Should you rest? What is the best way to heal?
All valid questions. So let’s talk injuries!
Surprisingly, this is the first time we have taken an in-depth look at injuries at End of Three Fitness. I fault this to the fact that I have avoided any serious injuries for about a decade (knock on wood!).
But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been injured.
When I say serious, I mean something involving surgery or LONG periods away from fitness. I have injured my knee in the past, and still get some weird feelings in it, on occasion, and I have been battling a chronic wrist problem for the last couple of months and I haven’t wanted to admit that I was “injured” until I realized I could’t even do push-ups comfortably anymore…
That left me with the question: I’m injured…Now what?
Injuries are (somewhat) unavoidable. The longer you are into fitness the greater chance you have of getting injured. This shouldn’t prevent anyone from working out. That would be like saying you aren’t going to drive your car anymore because you could get in an fender bender.
When I started writing this article I decided I didn’t want to give you a 100% opinion-based article. I want to share some of my experiences, but also put in the research. So that’s what I did.
Most common injuries:
- Sprains and strains
- Knee injuries
- Swollen muscles
- Achilles tendon injuries
- Pain along the shin bone
- Acute Pain is of rapid onset and short-lived.
- Chronic Pain develops slowly and is persistent and long-lasting.
What makes you fit, can make you injured…
- There are three aspects that go into a any good fitness program: intensity, duration and frequency.
- Aspects that can influence the risk of injuries: intensity, duration and frequency.
- Frequency and duration attribute the most to the risk of injury, and intensity shows little correlation to injury.
- So no excuses to scale back on intensity (when you are not injured)…but NEVER sacrifice perfect form for intensity.
- Old age
- Sedentary jobs and lifestyle
- High or low flexibility
- High arches of the feet (runners mainly)
So what am I saying? Well let me put it all together in one gigantic run-on sentence:
There are a lot of injuries that can occur, and a lot of them will occur within your joints and extremities, try to keep a good balance of intensity, duration and frequency, but try not to workout too many times in a day and keep the workouts you do do shorter rather than longer, but never sacrifice intensity, yet keep good form, furthermore if you are old, be extra careful, if you smoke, quit, don’t be sedentary, ever, work on your mobility regularly and wear the proper footwear that is good for you.
It’s that easy 🙂
Getting Over The Injury
I don’t have a big super secret to getting over injury. BUT I want to talk about both sides of injury (most don’t)…
- The Physical
- The Mental
Let’s start with…
Physical recovery, you’ve heard it before and you’ll here it again. RICE.
The RICE method is very common and will relieve pain, reduce swelling and speed healing. RICE is the best method for an acute injury and should be done immediately.
If you have chronic injury it is best to apply heat, as it increases circulation and loosens muscles. If things are a bit more serious…start thinking medicine, doctors and things of that nature.
Now, if you are like me, you will do the ICE, not RICE, method. Which is basically…just put some ice on it and train tomorrow….
Don’t do that!!
You have to rest. It is that simple. Sometimes it is a few days and sometimes it is weeks and weeks, but you need to keep a macro-view of fitness and health. We aren’t doing this to be fit for a year. We are doing the things we do to be fit and healthy for a lifetime. Rest!!
Training While Injured?
I get this question quite often…can I train while I am injured? The answer is always…it depends. Most of the time, you can train with an injury, so long as it is not severe.
You just need to find what you CAN do. Which may not be what you are doing currently…at all.
For instance, I said earlier than I am battling a chronic wrist injury. I know that heavy weights overhead and the rack position hurt my wrist. So guess what I am not doing? I am not lifting heavy things overhead and I am trying to avoid the rack position. But I am STILL training. I am taking an endurance focus on my training for the time being (something I NEVER do) until my wrist gets back to normal.
Find what you can do. If you can’t do anything…that’s where the mental part of recovery comes into play.
The mental aspect of recovery is VERY important, and yet, very rarely focused on. Whether you cannot train, and it is very important to you, or you have a long road to recovery, you need to keep focused on staying positive and believing that you are recovering quickly.
No joke, they have done studies on this, to quote one specific study:
“Subjects who perceived themselves as recovering rapidly made more stable, personally controllable, and externally controllable attributions than subjects who perceived themselves as recovering slowly.”
Perception goes a long way. To quote another study:
Injury rehabilitation programs that include the use of psychological skills, such as mental imagery and relaxation, may benefit through higher adherence rates and faster recovery times.
So if you think a little ice and stretching is going to help you recover, think again. Stick to the basics when it comes to both chronic and acute injuries, but don’t forget the mental aspect.
Know you will recover. See yourself recovering. Apply physical recovery principles.
Here’s to safe training and quick recovery,
Sources and Recommended Reading:
- Attributions for recovery and adherence to sport injury rehabilitation.
- Psychological Issues in Sport Injury Rehabilitation: Current Knowledge and Practice
- Athletic Trainers’ and Physical Therapists’ Perceptions of the Effectiveness of Psychological Skills Within Sport Injury Rehabilitation Programs
- The use of cryotherapy in sports injuries.
- Ice or Heat an Injury
- Sports Injuries
- Exercise, training and injuries.