Fighting an injury

First off, thanks to all of my readers. We reached over 1,000 views on my blog with the last post. That’s amazing. I didn’t know where this journey would lead when I started. Thanks to everyone who has supported me!!!

Fighting an injury

I have my first major injury to fight through since I started running. And it’s not fun…

I’ve been thru injuries before:

  • Broke my first bone, an ankle, in a volleyball incident (never played volleyball again)
  • Broke the other ankle in a hockey incident (never played hockey again)
  • Bad motorcycle accident when an SUV turned left in front of me (rarely ride anymore)
  • Bad car accident when an SUV failed to properly stop at a t-intersection (don’t like driving but it’s a fact of life)
  • Herniated disc from heavy lifting (don’t lift heavy things anymore)

Funny story: I finally moved out of my parents’ house and into my own apartment after I graduated and got my first job. I rented an apartment close enough to walk to work. That was my plan to save money on a car and parking. I broke my ankle the day after I moved in. Rough!

Do you see a pattern above? I didn’t purposefully stop anything, but subconsciously, these injuries thru accidents have impacted me. I never really played volleyball or hockey after breaking ankles. Incidentally, it was different ankles, not the same ankle. Motorcycling is just a hobby that doesn’t play well with golf nor dogs but every time I ride, I’m aware of the dangers.

There are two kinds of injuries:

  1. An injury that forces you to stop activity like a broken ankle or a herniated disc.
  2. An injury from activity that requires proper rest.

An injury that requires proper rest is the worst kind of injury. It’s because proper rest will allow the injury to heal, but you aren’t forced to rest. In many instances, you need to slow down and then build up strength again. And it’s usually caused by fatigue from doing something you love.

Ouch…my big toe

In my case, I likely have an inflamed right big toe flexor tendon injury; with a small chance that it’s a fracture or bruising of a small bone in my toe called the sesamoid. I’m pretty sure it was caused from overuse/strain with too much running/walking and golfing in a short time frame.

I’ve quickly realized how much I use my right big toe.

  • No running; no long run Sundays.
  • No walking on treadmill with slope; limited walking (at half capacity right now).
  • Up and down stairs is hard; as is stepping down a ledge or curb.
  • Golf uses the foot as a push off point; plus a lot of kneeling (mark ball, pick up ball, tee off); and a lot of slope/hills/embankments/uneven footing.
  • Main foot for kneeling down (go ahead, try to kneel down using the opposite leg you normally do; it’s a mind twister!).
  • Several stretches requiring kneeling or put pressure on my feet.
  • Can’t wear flip flops or sandals.

Its the first injury I’ve had to work thru since I started running. It’s a struggle to maintain my physical and mental health right now. For the last 20+ months, I’ve been fortunate to have physical activity as a way to keep healthy; especially running. I’ve focused a lot of energy on it. My diet is focused on it. And without running, I find myself a little lost.

I also dedicated myself more to golf this year, more than any other year. I bought new irons, wedges and a putter this year. I’m golfing 2 times a week plus lessons and practice. I’m pretty sure that I strained my toe during the first week I received my new golf clubs. I was having a hard time hitting them, and hit the range every day for a week to work thru it.

A lot of my time right now is focused on running/walking and golf. I’m a little lost with having to limit them. And it’s tiring being injured. My big toe hurts or aches all of the time. I’m icing, heating, stretching and strengthening it all of the time. It’s always on my mind. There isn’t much break from it.

I work pretty hard to stay active and healthy. It’s only a blip but I’m finding it hard to “slow down”… Hopefully I’m thru the worst. I need to strengthen the toe now with physio toe stretches. I’m icing 3 times a day. And have to add some heat now. So I’ve had to add more to my recovery time. On top of staying loose, stretching my back, maintaining my body at a healthy level, I’m nursing a toe injury.

When can I start running again?

Here is the funny thing…ironic in fact! I’ve been to physio a lot to recover from injuries: broken ankles, herniated discs, car accidents, etc. I’ve always taken the time to recover and done my homework in recovery. I still maintain an intense stretching routine to maintain freedom of movement.

I’ve been in physio a ton, and there is always someone else in the clinic that is recovering from an injury, and wants to continue training asap. I’m not purposefully listening in, but you can hear louder people and conversations. There are a lot of runners in recovery and they always want to know how soon they can start running. I FEEL YA! I FINALLY UNDERSTAND.

I want to run. But I can’t. It’s not my whole life but it’s now part of who I am. And I’m having issues maintaining my physical and mental well-being without it. And if I had an upcoming race I was training for, it would be even harder. I’m sorry for secretly judging you. I get it.

There are a lot of things I can do and I am doing.

Long run Sundays are no more until I can start running again. Sunday morning I did the most I could do and tried to have some fun with it:
– 20 mins walking on treadmill with no slope
– 20 mins rower
– 20 mins elliptical
– 20 mins bike

So I’m spending more time on the rower, elliptical and bike machines. It’s actually very challenging and probably healthy for me to do some cross training. They all take some pressure off of my toe compared to walking or running. And I have some new muscle soreness to work thru but it’s refreshing.

I’m still golfing but staying light on any extra practice. I’m hoping that I can slowly work in a couple of practice sessions a week. But for now, I’m happy to golf a couple of times a week. And try to protect my toe as best as I can.

Fun fact: I recently achieved a life long goal of being a “single digit” handicap golfer. My handicap officially dipped below 10 to 9.9 with my last round. So exciting! If only I could practice more!!! So thankfully, my injury hasn’t impacted my golf too much.

Most of all, I’m trying to give my toe the time to recover that I need. I’ve been very fortunate that this is my first “running” injury in 20 months. Although, it’s very possible that this is a golf injury that impacts running. Or rather an injury from both golf and running.

Regardless, it’s my first break from running in almost 2 years, and I’m having a little bit of a rough time with it. It’s hard, but I’m sure I’ll get thru this. And once again, I’m very happy for the professionals in my life that will help me get thru both the physical and mental challenges that come with an injury.

I hope that all of my running and golfing friends are well and healthy. I pray that this season is good to you and injury free. If you’re working thru an injury, stick with your recovery and take the rest you need. The body is a marvelous communicator and will let you know if you need a break.

Wrap Up

Injuries are tough! I never realized how tough an injury would be until I ran into one that hampered my two favorite things to do in the summer: run and golf. It’s hard mentally and physically. My routine is uprooted. Everything changed with one small injury.

I respect all athletes that have to go thru and recover from injuries. This is probably a tiny injury compared to what many of you have been thru. I applaud you. If you are fighting thru an injury right now, hang in there and stay positive! And work with your professional support teams. They can help you get thru this.

Here’s hoping Dennis on the run is back running soon!

6 Responses

  1. First congrats on your 1000 views!
    I hope you heal well and quickly. Stay healthy both mentally and physically! Be patient and kind to yourself

  2. It’s funny (not haha) when you injure something you never think about like a toe or finger.
    Try writing or driving a car when any finger has been smashed, whacked or hit by a ball.
    I jammed my pinky finger once and had a hard time writing for a week. You never think about it, but my hand rests on my pinky finger when I write.
    A blister on your foot form a poorly fitting sock or misplaced seem can eventually cause ankle or knee pain from walking in a way to avoid the pain of the blister.

    1. Thanks for sharing! Injuries are tough! I’m finding the hardest thing “feeling” my big toe when I never noticed it was there before. It’s not like I took it for granted, I just never noticed it. Now, it’s aching or “nervy” and I know it’s there.

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