I know how hard it can be when you’re suffering from an injury, and I am by no means an expert, but I thought I’d share my own thoughts and tips and hopefully encourage anyone who’s going through something similar. Those of you who follow me on Instagram might have noticed that I’ve been complaining recently about an injury – Achilles tendinopathy. I’m very active and I usually include two runs per week in my exercise regime and, although running is a common cause of this particular injury, this actually came about whilst I was recently in New York. Unlike the ‘normal’ people who visit New York (as my friend kindly put it) we did not take the subway to get around the city. Instead my ‘non-normal’ family walked absolutely everywhere and unfortunately, about 10 miles a day of pounding pavements led to this cruel injury.
There is very little blood flow around the Achilles tendon; the largest tendon in the body which connects the lower calf and heel, and as a result Achilles tendinopathy means a lot of resting as it can take a long time to heal. As you can imagine, it’s very difficult to rest this part of the body, as I can’t just stop walking! Despite knowing this, it felt so much better last week that I risked a 5k and it reminded me that it wasn’t ready yet by being a bit sore afterwards. This forced me to acknowledge the fact that it won’t heal unless I let it – believe me, there was a lot of suffering involved in writing this post, as Mum (who’d warned me against it) continued to remind me of her favourite mantra: ‘Mummy’s always right’.
As a result, I have taken a break from running and any jumping/pounding activities and instead I’m incorporating low-impact exercise, such as spinning, core-strength, bodyweight workouts and yoga. It’s definitely made me realise how much I take for granted, and although I feel fed-up about missing out on my usual fitness classes and workouts, I’m definitely grateful to be able to do some kind of exercise! I’ve shared the ways in which I’m healing my injury and keeping my spirits up, but these may apply to other types of injury, depending on what you have and how serious.
How I’m healing my Achilles Tendinopathy:
- As I’ve mentioned above, I’m taking a break from running (sigh) and I’ve replaced anything that places stress on the Achilles tendon with low-impact exercise such as spinning, core-strength and yoga.
- I’m doing regular eccentric stretches for my Achilles, such as heel- drops on the stairs (see the link below for more information).
- I ice it if it starts to get sore, or apply mint oil-infused cream to the area.
- If you’re in a similar position, I found this article on treatment helpful: http://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/directory/a/achilles-tendinopathy
I’ll be completely honest with you; I hate resting. I love to move my body, to sweat and challenge myself, and taking a step back is not ideal for me. However I accept that this is necessary for my body to fully recover and enable me to pick up my regime soon, and I realise that resting it will mean that I’ll be able to return sooner.
Below I’m sharing some of my tips for keeping your spirits up:
- By spending more time on other types of exercise, I’m working harder on muscles that I would probably use less normally. For example, spinning is strengthening my thighs and focusing on yoga seems to be improving my flexibility- focus on the positives, not the negatives!
- I’m quite an organised person and love to plan (I get a rather embarrassing feeling of satisfaction when I enter something into my diary), so I’m keeping my spirits up by booking things for next month, when I hope to be up and running (literally) again. Try signing up to new challenges, memberships, trials or classes, as these will help you to feel motivated and give you something to look forward to.
- Be wary of comfort eating! I’ve seen people fall into this trap on several occasions. As a result of feeling down about missing out on exercise, people often compensate with treats to cheer themselves up. Unfortunately, cutting back on exercise and the addition of more treats (which aren’t often healthy) often leads to weight gain, and will lead to more misery and make it harder for you to regain your fitness. If you feel like cheering yourself up, find other ways- have a bubble bath with scented candles, buy a magazine or cure your sweet tooth with a healthier treat (try my Raw Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups).
I hope you found this helpful, and if you have any other suggestions or comments, please share them.
Thanks for reading!