Posts Tagged ‘Injury’

Week Two

Posted: December 28, 2015 by Roberts in General Post, Injuries, Running Log
Tags: , , ,

It seems only fitting that the first obstacle to getting back on the fitness wagon would be a sprained ankle. Another sprain. Wednesday before the sun woke up, the ground was covered by a light rain. The ground was soaked, the streets were glistening, and puddles littered the ground. While crossing a large intersection, I stepped into a small puddle. Hidden under the water was a crack in the road. With a single misstep, my ankle rolled and I tumbled down. During the fall, I had a flashback of my fall the previous year in November. Strangely enough, on the other side of the same intersection was where that fall had occurred. That intersection might just be cursed.

While crawling through the intersection all I could think was, “not again. Please don’t let it be bad.” As this scene played out, the man that lived on the corner was getting into his car. Luckily he offered to give me a lift back to my house. Though it was a short three quarter mile run, it was a long three quarter mile crawl. Not my first injury, and most likely not my last. To console myself, I decided I could take it easy with the Christmas holiday over the weekend.

A holiday plus no running, equals terrible results. Sadly, for my weigh in on Monday, I wiped out all my work from the previous week. I’m currently in a competition with my neighbor, whom ever loses 10% first, the other must babysit. For that whole week, I was well in the lead. Now, however, she’s winning. I can’t let this happen. I really don’t want to watch a total of six children (my own three, plus her three).

What challenges or contests have you used to motivate yourself?

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Friday the 13th Book icon

Friday the 13th Book icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am not a superstitious person.  The universe does not curse a particular day of the week since an arbitrary date falls upon it.  There are enough irrational people in this world, and I have no desire to be one of them.  I have known quite a few people who claim not to be superstitious, except when it comes to the number “13.”  To combat this, I have embraced the number as much as I can, or at least to notice where the number “13” shows up in my life.  It ranges from my shoe size, my ring size, my birthday (1-3), the fact that I get off at the thirteenth stop on the train, and so on.  If “13” truly was an unlucky number, I would probably be dead by now, given how often it comes up in my life.

Why am I bringing up Friday the 13th when it carries no power to me?  I want to put into context my evening run, and how if I did believe the day was bad luck, this evening would have reinforced it.

With all good curses, things start out small with imperceptible strange coincidences.   Over time it builds until you question your sanity and sense of reason.

Throughout the day a shooting pain had stabbed along my shin.  When the pain occurred it came on so suddenly and unexpectedly, I would almost lose my balance.  After the third time, I started questioning my health.  Did I injure myself and not know it?  Was it a muscle or bone issue?  A great way to start a run.

I owed myself two runs from nights this week when I hadn’t gotten to run, one 6 miles, the other 2.  Given that I have a 12 miler on Sunday, I figured the 2 miler should be on Saturday.  After getting home and having dinner on this Friday the 13th, the earliest I could hit the road was 10:15 PM.  Yes, I am that guy that goes out running after 10 on a Friday night.  If you have been reading, you know I have started focusing on my pace, and not just the distance.  So off I went.

Coming around the bend at the end of mile one, a couple stood chatting on the sidewalk I was running on.  As I approached, they decided to start walking the same direction I was running.  It happens, so I passed them.  Around a mile and half, a minivan approached along the street.  The driver turned and pulled into a driveway along my path.  He didn’t pull all the way in, but left a half a car length to spare.  This blocked the sidewalk.  Maybe he didn’t see me.  The interior light came on, the driver opened his door and looked at me.  As I circled around behind the minivan, I heard the familiar beep beep sound as the rear door began to open, just as I was running by it.  So he saw me, and he still opened the door!  Best case scenario, opening the door forces me to run further in the middle of the street in the middle of night.  Worst case, he was trying to hit me.

My route winds throughout the neighborhood.  The couple I saw earlier must have taken a shorter route since I passed them again.  Over the course of the next couple miles I avoided three other cars parked over the sidewalk and not pulled all the way into their driveway.  Minor annoyances, nothing deadly and in a vacuum, it isn’t worth noting; however it was Friday the 13th.

Passing two and a half miles the couple was ahead of me again.  They approached a corner where the sidewalk and street end at a cross street.  I normally cross the street and make a right.  I noticed cars approaching from the left a little too fast for my taste.  When that occurs, I normally turn left, run for a bit, and then cross.  This prevents me from crossing a street with cars nearby.  That is on a normal night.  But normal does not seem to be on the table for this evening.

The couple stops.  This isn’t them just slowing down, they stop abruptly.  They don’t just stop anywhere.  They stop between the tree and the road, the only narrow “safe” space between a traffic filled road and the trees.  This forces me into the street, and into the path of an approaching car.  As I pass from the safety of the ending sidewalk and directly onto the road, they give me the stink eye, as if somehow I made the mistake of encroaching upon them.

Eventually, I turn down the dead end street that had been occupied by the opossum on a different night not too long ago.  At the end of the street a white car is parked facing me.  The driver flashed his lights not once, but three times.  THREE TIMES!  He then decided to leave the high beams on, though it was a well-lit street.  Are you afraid I didn’t see you, Mr. Parked Car?  Three or four car-lengths out, he started driving, high beams still on.  My night vision is now shot.  I was nearly at the half-way point of my run at that point, thank goodness.

A little while later, I noticed a white car parked on the side of the road.  In the car I could see two small glowing embers.  They would burn bright for a moment and then dim away.  When I saw a few strides closer I detected a scent I haven’t smelled in some time – pot.  These two are smoking up on the side of the street.  It then hits me; it is the same car that flashed their high beams at me.  They aren’t good at hiding the fact that they are smoking.  The area is just flooded with the scent.

By mile four I was in the final stretch.  Sitting at the three-way stop intersection was a jeep.  It sat there, and sat there and sat there.  I needed to cross the street.  Would he turn towards me or not?  Would he wait?  He can’t go straight, that is a house, and left would be near me.  As I got closer, the jeep began to move slowly.  The driver was looking for something on the floor, and obviously unable to find it.  The car began to idle slowly into the intersection.   The car drifted across most the intersection before the driver’s head ever emerged.  Finally he popped his head up and slammed on the brakes.  Any further and he would have been in someone’s yard, and in my path to getting home.  He most likely would have hit the curb and maybe even knocked some since into himself.

The rest of the run was uneventful.  The question is, was the run cursed, or was it good luck that none of those events became terrible accidents?  Next time should I bring out a few lucky charms (no, not the cereal), or should I trust in fate?

My goal was to beat my 6 mile pace of 11’35”.  Results, 10’52”.  Time to celebrate with a chai smoothie.

Remember to like the page on Facebook.

Question:

Do you have any superstitions when it comes to your runs?

How to Treat a Sprained Ankle

Posted: December 11, 2011 by Roberts in Injuries, Rehab
Tags: , , , ,

A sprained ankle is the most common sport injury, though not the worst.  If not treated properly, it could stall an exercise routine or sports career by several months.  Initial treatment is vital to the long term success of recovery from the sprained ankle. 

First, to review, there are simple steps that need to be taken after a sprain has occurred.  It is commonly referred to as the R-I-C-E method.  Acronyms make things so easy to remember, don’t they? 

R – Rest:

Stay off the ankle whenever possible.  At first it may seem impossible to use the ankle.  Over time, as it recovers, there is a danger of stressing the ankle before it has fully recovered.  Exercise during the first few days should be limited to swimming and cycling.  Never push yourself beyond what your ankle is capable of.

I – Ice:

Icing should be done in 15 – 20 minutes, once an hour.  Icing should be done as soon as possible after the injury.  Icing is most effective for the first 48 hours to fight swelling.  You can use a Ziploc bag of ice (with a little water), ice pack, steak or a bag of peas.  Ice needs to be applied soon and often.  Just do not ice for more than twenty minutes, as frostbite does not help the injury.

C – Compression:

Compression can be done with an Ace bandage wrap or a brace purchased from any drug store.  It should be snug, but not constraining.  Compression is important when the foot is not elevated and will have any strain placed on it.  Moreover, wear shoes, not sandals or flip flops.  The additional support can only help.  At the end of this article you will find a video demonstrating how to wrap an ankle properly after an injury.

E – Elevation:

The ankle needs to be elevated when you are not walking.  Elevation refers to a level higher than you heart.  This, in addition to the other guidelines, will reduce and minimize swelling.  A couple pillows or a folded thick blanket under the ankle should be enough elevation.  This will help in circulation of the blood through the ankle. 

Ligaments of the ankle.

Image via Wikipedia

Follow these guidelines, and the damage can be minimized.  The next step is to see your doctor or a trained professional.  The damage that has occurred can range.  There are two types of sprained ankles, inversion and eversion.  An inversion sprain is the most common and occurs when the sole of the foot is forced to face inward, thus straining the ligaments on the outside of the foot.   This type of injury represents 40% of all sports injuries and 80% of all sprains. The anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) and calcaneofibular ligament (CFL) is the most commonly injured.  The rarest ligament damage is to the posterior talofibular ligament (PTFL).  Sprains are classified under a three level graded system.

Grade I:                The ligaments of the foot have had no macroscopic tears, most likely and over stretching.  There is mild pain and tenderness.  Swelling is present and there is not loss or a very limited amount of loss of mobility.  There is stiffness and difficulty walking.

Grade II:              A partial tear has occurred in the ligaments.  Pain and tenderness is moderate.  Swelling is present and the joint is stiff.  Minor bruising is present.  The ankle is having trouble supporting weight and is painful to attempt.  The joint is instable and mobility is an issue.

Grade III:             There ligament is completely torn.  Pain is severe and tender to the touch.  The ankle cannot support weight at all.  There is gross instability of the joint and is essentially unusable.  The bruising is extensive.

Do not self-diagnose.  After a sprain, consult a doctor.  Your doctor most likely will advise you to have an x-ray to check for a break or a fracture.  What may seem to you a simple sprain may in fact turn out to be serious damage.  Injury can range from strains or tears of the aforementioned ligaments, small fractures, breaks, avulsion fractures, or even osteochondral lesions.  Due to the wide range of potential issues, consult a professional.  Once the doctor has diagnosed the issue, rehab can begin. Good luck in your recovery.  For some rehab ideas click here.

How to wrap an ankle.

Sprained Ankle: Rehab and Exercises

Posted: December 1, 2011 by Roberts in Injuries, Rehab
Tags: , , , ,

If you are dedicated to an exercise routine or a running schedule, a sprained ankle can put not just a damper on your plans, but halt them completely.  The question is, how do you not skip a beat, but not hinder the healing process.  By now, everyone should know of the R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) method of care for the ankle.  After the swelling has gone down and the ankle’s strength is returned, what’s next?  It’s now time to move on to the rehabilitation and strengthening of the ankle.

Before trying to work out with a sprained ankle, have it checked out with a physician.  Don’t play the guessing game.  If you have a fracture and you don’t allow it to heal properly, you could permanently ruin your ankle.  Healing should always be your paramount goal.  Even if your physician confirms it is only a strain, push yourself no further than the limit your ankle can handle.  There are two kinds of exercises to discuss, rehabilitation and non-rehabilitation exercises.

Rehabilitation Exercise:

The ankle is a complicated system of bones and ligaments that provide support and balance for the body.  The first goal of rehab is to regain this function.  This is done through range of motion exercises.  These exercises should be preform three to five sets a day.

  • While your leg is stretched across a bench and your foot hanging off the edge, use your big toe as your pen, write  the entire alphabet
  • While keeping your foot flat on the ground, shift your knee side to side
  • With your leg out stretched, wrap a towel around the foot, and slowly pull each end towards you stretching the foot muscles.  Repeat twenty times.

After regaining a range of motion (after a few days of rehabilitation) it is time to regain strength.  Even though you have not used the foot for a couple days the body has already started adjusting and learning to use the strength of the other leg to compensate.  We need to fight this and not lose strength while you heal over the coming days and weeks.  These exercises should not be attempted until you are able to stand on the foot without pain.

  • Create a loop with and exercise band.  While sitting in a chair, slip your good foot through one end of the loop.  The foot of the bad ankle slips through other end of the loop.  Slowly stretch the band with your legs until you find your limit.  Repeat twenty to twenty five times three times a day.

As stated earlier, balance is a primary function of the ankle.  The final stage of rehabilitation requires retraining or reminded the muscles of the ankle how to balance.   Once the ankle has strengthened, repeat these exercises three times daily.

  • Standing with your arms out stretched, balance on the injured foot.  Hold this for 30 seconds.  Repeat while increase the time by 15 seconds each time for a total of 3 sets.
  • While standing on the injured leg, slowly crouch down by bending the knee of the injured leg.  Return to the standing position.  Repeat ten to fifteen times.

After each of the rehabilitation workouts, it is good practice to ice your ankle.

Non- Rehabilitation Exercises:

There are a few cardio exercises you can do to maintain your general health or fitness.  The rule of thumb is to make sure that if you feel any strain on you ankle, STOP.

  • Stationary Cardio Bike with the injured foot on the ground and the good foot strapped in tight
  • Stationary Cardio Bike with both feet strapped in
  • Elliptical Machine (Late in your recovery)
  • Shadow Boxing
  • Using a Heavy Boxing Bag
  • Rowing Machine
  • Deep-Water Running (may even get you closer to a new PR)

Avoid any routines that require stress on the ankle as this can prolong the healing process.  Having a sprained ankle might slow you down, but it doesn’t have to stop you.  Keep on moving!

Suggestions? rebuildingroberts@gmail.com

Multiple Injuries

Posted: October 13, 2011 by Roberts in Injuries, Running Log
Tags: , ,

Distance: 3.03 Miles
Pace: 10’54”

There really isn’t much to say. After a mile and half in, I pulled my hamstring taking a corner. My pace dropped an entire minute instantly. I started wondering if I could push through the pain, only to be surprised by a stomach cramp. I wanted to scream at my body, “what is wrong with you?” I pushed until the third mile and had to end the run. The ever increasing pain was on the verge of unbearable.

I had to take the Walk of Shame home, my head hung held low from a failed run. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Just make sure the number of wins outweigh the losses.

Every run should be a learning experience, and the bad ones have the most to teach. This was my first hamstring pull, and now I need to learn how to “fix” this problem.

Next Run: 8 Miles
Next Race: TBD

Back in the game and a new format

Posted: October 3, 2011 by Roberts in Injuries, Running Log
Tags: , ,

Distance: 12.12 Miles
Pace: 10’44”

After this past week of failures, I was given some advice by a friend and fellow runner. He recommended I push my next run back by a day and do some cross training. Swimming was not an option so the elliptical became the solution.

I have not spent any time on this machine for over a year. I pushed for 60 minutes. It was easy and boring. It was nothing like running and that is the point. At the time I wasn’t sure how this was going to help; I just had to wait.

The day of the run, it took time to mentally prepare for the 11 miles ahead of me. I am crazy. I hit the road. The entire run I kept telling myself, “you’re doing good,” or “this is a great pace.” I wasn’t sure if it was on not; it didn’t matter. The road is all that matters.

To avoid what happened my last long run, I wore a water belt and brought energy gels. My plan was to take some and Gatorade every mile and a half. Next time I might bring water and Gatorade to mix it up.

On my final approach to my house I looked down at my watch to see make sure I would be over 11 miles.  If I did my math right, I would be just past 11 miles, and within striking distance of 12.  I decided to run past my house to the corner and back.  If I can do 11, I can do 12.  I miscalculated, and finished at 12.12.  Looking back I should have just pushed for one more mile and finished out my first half marathon.

After signing off my watch, it informed my I had broken three PRs.  I beat my 5k, 10k, and distance records.  I could not believe it.  I thought I was just trying to keep myself moving; it was actually a good pace.  As my four year-old likes to remind me, “No limitations.”

The only injury this time another busted toenail.

Pain…just pain

Posted: September 28, 2011 by Roberts in Injuries, Running Log
Tags: , ,

Distance: 6 Miles
Pace:  11’25”

Playlist:

This American Life Podcast – The Incredible Case of the P.I. Moms

Thoughts of the run:

The start of the run was good.  I was in the zone.  Once I hit mile three I tripped over a sewer grate.  I fell forward onto the pavement and picked up two patches of road rash, a busted knee and a pain riddle foot.  I forced myself up quickly to continue the run cursing my luck.  With each pounding on the pavement, pain shot up my right side.  Every drop of salty sweat stung my forearm and knee.  I needed to get to the point of the run where the adrenaline and endorphin mute all pain.  By the end I got near a normal pace.  I am proud I finished the run.

Thoughts during the run:

I can not remember my thoughts before the spill.  The pain for the last half of my run washed out all the other thoughts.  I just kept reminding myself I was one step closer to home.  If I walked it would take longer.  Running was my only option.  Lets see how Thursday goes.