Injuries: Patience and Creativity Required

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Last year I was walking in my yard, minding my own business when a brick appeared out of nowhere and I banged my toe. Sadly, my foot had no shoe on, and reacted very poorly to being banged. I had broken my toe.

I was in pain.

My toe was swollen.

I was mad.

I was mad not just because I broke my toe, but because I knew that breaking my toe was going to severely limit the amount of exercise I was going to be able to do. No more brisk walking/occasional jogging for me. I was seriously annoyed. This wasn’t the first time in my 12 years of maintaining my 150 pound weight loss that I had been injured. Every time I hurt myself one of my first thoughts were, “What am I going to do about exercising and moving my body?”

Such a different response from when I was morbidly obese. At 300 pounds, injuries weren’t fun either-but I back then I wasn’t active at all, so I didn’t mind sitting on the couch even more than I normally did! I’d just load up on the treats and wait for the injury to go away. Not so after I lost my weight.

Now when I injure myself I check with my doctor and follow her recommendations. When I broke my toe, walking and running were out, but because my doctor didn’t cast my toe (thank goodness) there were other exercises I could still do-and I did them.

I checked out our local university’s swimming pool and started swimming. I pulled my son’s bicycle out of the garage and started biking again. And I didn’t stop strength training. During the month that it took my foot to start feeling better I was still able to exercise and move my body and I learned, once again, that sometimes in this journey to lose or maintain weight we have to be creative and patient.

If you have ever been injured you know what I’m talking about. Sometimes you can’t do any type of physical activity and then you really have to work through those frustrations and emotions. But there are other times, like I experienced, where I could do alternate training. Just so you know, I have had times where I injured my back so badly I could do no exercise for months. During those times I didn’t exercise or do much of anything, but I didn’t gain weight. How? I didn’t gain because I cut back on my calories enough to still maintain my weight. That wasn’t easy, but it worked for me.

So if you are injured, or get injured I wanted to encourage you that your journey doesn’t have to end. It may stall for a time and that’s okay. Take the time you need to heal, and when you can, add back some activity into your life.

Have you been injured? What did you do?  Diane

Always check with your doctor about any injury!

36 thoughts on “Injuries: Patience and Creativity Required

  1. Laura says:

    I injured my knee almost a month ago. First I was annoyed because I had not been able to run or walk for a week.

    But then I went to the doctor and he said me that I won’t be able to run or ride a bicycle anymore. I felt depressed. I’m only 31 years old and doctor says that I can’t run or ride for the rest of my life!

    One week ago I decided to go swimming. I stil have pain in the knee. And I can’t go to the swimming pool until June. But now I’m wishful to start again with swimming.

    I hope that I can swim the rest of my life!

  2. Cammy@TippyToeDiet says:

    It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who has been attacked by bricks! 🙂

    I had surgery on both feet several years ago and had a couple of weeks with no exercise and six weeks with no cardio. If nothing else, I learned how much I truly valued exercise. And I learned a smidge about patience. 🙂
    .-= Cammy@TippyToeDiet´s last blog ..Hanging Up My Robe =-.

  3. Mbini says:

    My almost only enemy is flu. I stop exercising often because of flu. And following Dr Hubby’s orders of “body tells you it needs rest”. I still have to get exercises I can do whilst having flu.

    I am glad, even after a mere 2 weeks, that I am doing what I’m doing.
    .-= Mbini´s last blog ..Fitness Journal Day10 =-.

  4. vickie says:

    Ditto here.

    I have had injuries and I have had surgeries. Once I had a surgery that had a chain reaction and made an old injury resurface.

    And you are exactly right
    we either cross train
    or
    we adjust our food intake.

    I have done both and held on each time this has happened to me. And each time, I came out stronger, more knowledgeable on the other side.
    .-= vickie´s last blog ..It deflates me to miss classes =-.

  5. Karen@WaistingTime says:

    Me too! Last summer I broke a toe and it drove me crazy that I couldn’t do what I wanted. Once I could get a shoe on, I did what I could. Now I have been sidelined for about 9 weeks from my latest injury and am in physical therapy, hoping to speed my recovery. I still am not able to lift weights or go back to yoga. But from day one I got on the horribly boring elliptical or walked outside, arm and shoulder aching. I admit I sometimes think about what is happening with my upper body strength and what it will take to rebuild once I get the okay to lift weights again. Sigh.
    .-= Karen@WaistingTime´s last blog ..The Great Cookie Debate =-.

  6. Susan says:

    I have been through 4 surgeries in 10 years and each time I was sidelined for 6-8 weeks. Like you I watched my calorie intake like a hawk and went back to exercising once cleared by the doctor.
    I also have a bad lower back and a left knee with arthritis in it so I have to be very careful. With the knee its rest, ice, and the bad back if it really acts up its total rest for a while then back exercises my doctor gave me to do… To anyone injured I would say hang in there take care of yourself watch what you eat and eventually you will be able to exercise again.

  7. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman says:

    Ugh, yes. I’ve had two injured knees for six years (apparently cartilage doesn’t regenerate on its own). And now I have two foot injuries. I believe my body is playing a sick joke on me. At first I was upset about not being able to work out. Now I realize recovery, and following doctor’s orders, is the most important thing. Rushing recovery will just get you where I am–still sidelined after all these years.
    .-= Tracey @ I’m Not Superhuman´s last blog ..Signs of Addiction =-.

  8. Amy says:

    Oh, injuries are so frustrating – it is like our body is getting back at us for all the times in the past we didn’t take good care of it! I guess the only thing to do is be creative about what you can do and not give up.
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Just Not Feeling It =-.

  9. Diane says:

    I have been injured several times in my life and I am always annoyed at the fact that the injury itself hurts but not as much as the healing process ! I have had broken bones, torn muscles, severe sprains and I always hate having to relearn movement ( on crutches, with a cast or to accommodate stitches)and then the energy that it takes to rebuild the strength in the injured part once he healing is complete. For that reason I have rarely taken any injury as a reason to do nothing. There is always some way to keep moving. Even the wheelchair bound can do some tai chi type exercises.On the days when my arthritis flairs I drop walking in favor of things like the Wii . However , since dropping gluten I am finding that I can push through that pain easier and do my normal exercise but at a lower intensity and with assistance
    .-= Diane´s last blog ..But can I eat out ???? =-.

  10. John says:

    Yeah injuries sure do suck and they seem to happen at the worst of times! I usually try to work through them if I can but if I can’t I bite the bullet and wait for it to heal. I’ve been pretty fortunate only being laid up for 10 days at the longest.

  11. Rachel says:

    I have battled severe plantar fasciitis in my left foot for two years. Up until a few months ago, I didn’t mind the fact that it limited my activity. Once I joined WW and vowed to get healthy, it start to tick me off. I was angry. I’m still angry. I went on a 30 minute walk with my dog yesterday and was in pain the entire time. But I joined a gym that has a pool, trainers that are helping me exercise with no impact on my foot and a new chiropractor (at the gym!) who is trying new treatments on it. I just have to keep plugging along and know that something has to give sometime!
    .-= Rachel´s last blog ..Strength Training ~ Rachel =-.

  12. Emergefit says:

    I tend to workout through broken toes, and yes I have had 2 of them, deep bruises, cuts with stitches, and similar local injuries. These may effect how I workout, but there is ALWAYS something that can be done to to get exercise under such circumstances.

    Then there was that time I had that little skydiving accident — I would not see a gym for nearly three years. I ate poorly and became obese. The saddest part about that, is that without exercise I may have lost my muscle tone, but if I had adjusted my eating I would not have become obese. Ultimately, this battle really is about eating — not working out.
    .-= Emergefit´s last blog ..The Battlefield; The 11th Question… =-.

  13. NewMe says:

    As a handicapped person, I constantly battle anger at not being able to do much substantial exercise.

    I do what I can, but must be constantly vigilant to not overstep the boundaries. When I do too much, I pay big time and end up losing what little progress I’ve made.

    It’s not a happy situation, but giving up is worse.
    .-= NewMe´s last blog ..My "Walk in the Snow" =-.

  14. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    Yes, Diane, I think we can always find things to do & YES, adjust the food until you are back to your normal routine.

    I have been injured or out of exercise only a very few times in my years & I have always found ways to do something. In all cases, I did adjust my food for the less exercise due burning off fewer calories.
    .-= Jody – Fit at 52´s last blog ..More Gym Rants & Some HELP too! =-.

  15. Laura Jane says:

    Thankfully, I’ve never been injured. However, I remember when I was trying to run and started getting shin splints to the point that I just had to stop running. I could do every other physical activity, just not running. I had to fight frustration just from that. Also, when I moved to a different apartment there were some exercise DVDs I couldn’t do because I no longer had enough space. I realized I was dwelling on the 4 or 5 DVDs that I couldn’t do, when there were a thousand other things I could do. I can’t imagine what I’d do if I were injured because I exercise a lot and really feel like I need that extra calorie burn to make my eating plan “liveable.”
    .-= Laura Jane´s last blog ..Make It or Break It =-.

  16. Lauren says:

    I know exactly what you mean! I just sliced my hand open on a glass jelly jar a week ago and had to get 5 stitches 🙁 I do yoga almost every morning and haven’t been able to do much of it since I hurt myself. But I just had to “adapt and overcome”! Instead, I’m meditating in the morning and then going for a brisk walk. Great post!
    .-= Lauren´s last blog ..Michelle Obama’s Action Plan for Childhood Obesity =-.

  17. Babbalou says:

    I’ve been a runner my entire adult life but have developed significant chronic back pain and have tried almost every treatment available – exercises, yoga, chiropractic treatments, physical therapy. I spent a couple of years working out at a physician’s back clinic that focuses on core strength training. It all helps some but doesn’t fix the problem and everyone who has treated me has told me I should not run. This has been unbelievably difficult for me psychologically but I’ve switched to walking and weights for my primary exercise. I’ve had other, more temporary injuries, like a broken leg and a badly injured knee. My suggestion is to try to keep positive thoughts when you’re injured. I know it’s hard, but you will feel better if you remember to be grateful for what you have, not focused on the frustration over your situation. The positive outlook helps keep you on track, you can always do something physical and monitor your food intake. When I had a cast on my leg I focused on stomach tighting exercises which I could do on the couch or even in bed. Over the months I could really tell the difference. Beats drowning your sorrows in a vat of ice cream!

  18. Big Clyde says:

    This is so true. I think in the past, I would almost look for reasons not to exercise. A broken toe would totally work for that. Now, I find myself always looking forward to when/what I am going to do next. Our bodies sure adapt, once our brain takes control.

    Thanks for you kind comments on my site yesterday. I am grateful to you for the encouragement.

  19. Tish says:

    Great post, Diane. I’m knocking on wood as I type this, but I’ve never had a broken bone. I did have a surgery to remove a melanoma from my upper back that slowed me down a bit. I couldn’t exercise with weights nor could I tolerate much motion in my upper body, but I went on lots of walks. I change up my exercise so as not to rely on one type too much. I bike, run, and lift weight regularly. My backups include walking, Wii tennis, Wii yoga, and workout DVDS (Sweatin’ to the Oldies is a favorite).
    .-= Tish´s last blog ..25 Minutes–News Flash =-.

  20. Lori (Finding Radiance) says:

    As you know, I am currently working through an extended injury. My worst fear was worrying that I was going to wake up fat again. Silly, but true.

    I listen to my body a lot now and know the difference between pushing to tolerance and going too far. I think it is easy to use an excuse that we are injured to do nothing, but the body is pretty adaptable. I found out what I couldn’t do and modified or tried something different that did work. The workouts obviously weren’t as intense in the beginning of the injury, but I really credit my recovery to getting back to movement as soon as possible.

    One thing that I realized during this, though, is that it is not the exercise that is keeping the weight off – it’s me.
    .-= Lori (Finding Radiance)´s last blog ..Bagels and longer injury update. =-.

  21. Mia says:

    When I was 16, young and healthy, I had a horrible knee injury which led to a big surgery. I thought my athletic days were over. Over the course of the next 5 years, I gained 50 pounds!!

    Finally, I realized that bad knee or not, I needed to exercise for my health and happiness. I found things I could do and kept at them despite some pain and being slow! Today, I can no longer run or walk far but I do bike!

    I’ve learned to keep moving within my body’s limitations.

  22. Marcelle says:

    Now you see why I think you so inspirational…look at you – still injured and training…no excuses.

    I have had to teach classes through my injuries, oh I hate that…my knee was injured from all the Step classes I taught, my hip from kick boxing classes….my voice was hoarse from talking – now all gone as I no longer have to teach 3/5 classes a day..

    I do fear getting injured now, but like you would make another plan.

  23. Fran says:

    I had an injury two years ago, it happened during a Steps class in the gym. I had therapy for it and followed doctor’s orders. But when I was better and could exercise again I was afraid for a few weeks to workout again because I was afraid the injury would come back. That was even harder than dealing with the injury itself.
    .-= Fran´s last blog ..A day in my life: Monday May 24, 2010 =-.

  24. karen@fitnessjourney says:

    I can relate to this. I broke my toe in March and it amazed me how many things were more difficult because of this tiny little injury. Biking was a gift as was my trainer’s ability to come up with alternate workouts for me. The upside is that I really learned to appreciate what a gift it is to not be disabled. Some people live everyday with far, far worse.
    .-= karen@fitnessjourney´s last blog ..Cleanses and Fasts =-.

  25. Melinda Neely says:

    Our minds must be on the same wavelength. On Monday, I wrote a post on the many injuries I am enduring(stress fracture, shoulder tendinitis, Pars Defect in my back). This Friday, I am writing about learning the right technique if swimming is your choice for cardio training or rehab (I will link to this post).

    The only time I broke a finger sounds similar to your experience. I fell running up the front steps to my house. My computer, which was in my bag, fell conveniently on top of my finger and broke it.
    .-= Melinda Neely´s last blog ..The Road to Boise: My Four “F”s of Triathlon Training =-.

  26. Cynthia (It All Changes) says:

    I’m the injury queen so I am constantly finding new exercises while I recoup. I did swimming and yoga while awaiting back surgery. Walking and biking and DVD’s during my last two injuries. I just adapt after a bit of self pity 🙂
    .-= Cynthia (It All Changes)´s last blog ..Waking the Dead =-.

  27. 'Drea says:

    Timely post. I always hold my breath when I feel something happen that’s not quite right. I just did something to my shoulder while rowing a couple of days ago.

    Of course, it made me grateful for all of those times that have been going and going and it made me grateful for full range of motion.

    I went bicycling yesterday and I didn’t have to use too much of shoulder for it. 😉

    Thanks for the ideas.
    .-= ‘Drea´s last blog ..You Find The Strength Somehow: A Look Behind The Rock Climbing Scene =-.

  28. Joe says:

    I broke my toe last year. It’s amazing how bad that hurts. I had to wear Crocs to work for a week cause I couldn’t bear the pain of getting my shoe on.
    Funny ending though because I sell digital x-ray equipment so it made for some awesome demos and I could finally prove to my wife that I wasn’t faking it.
    .-= Joe´s last blog ..Joe’s Blog Roll =-.

  29. Leah says:

    So far my only major injury was shin splits when I started jogging and then, more recently, my hip hurting when I jog.

    I’ve worked around both of those cases with alternative exercise, like you said. They kept me active and allowed the injured parts to heal.
    .-= Leah´s last blog ..Subway Giveaway =-.

  30. Tami@nutmegnotebook.com says:

    I had to have ankle surgery after crushing all of the bones in my left ankle. I was laid up for months but I did do exercises sitting in a chair with hand weights. Once I was out of casts (3 months of casts) I was able to work out in the pool using an aqua jogger belt thing that kept me a float in the pool and I could use a jogging motion with my legs. It was a great work out.

    I will never take my mobility for granted again.
    .-= Tami@nutmegnotebook.com´s last blog ..Chicken Nuggets as an Appetizer & Product Reviews =-.

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