Overcoming Injuries (While Still Training)

Picture it: New England, 2016.

The weather is warming up, sunshine is gleaming through the window onto the living room floor, causing it to look like an enticing place to work out. I want to work myself extra hard this day and pull out the PiYo DVD’s that I know will act as a challenge for me. I choose on a workout that I had yet to complete and GO!

Moving, stretching, dripping; I offer myself breathy words of encouragement in between shouted cuss words. I am presently hating myself and loving myself at the same time. Finally, thirteen minutes away from the end, I am going through a simple transition from Upward Dog to Downward Dog and I feel a painful twitch in my lower back.

I am nervous, but my body is able to still move just fine, and most of the workout is a form of stretching, so I continue. I get to the end and feel a little sore, but okay. However, that soreness grows. Within two hours I recognize the familiar feeling from several years before that I had pulled a muscle in my back. 


I remember from the last time this happened how quickly my back got stiff and limited my mobility. I lay out the yoga mat and watch some television while lying flat on the floor, doing some lower-back stretches that I’ve learned from Yoga. After about a half hour of stretching, I go for the heating pad, which will become more of security blanket over the next few days. 

I call and make an appointment with a massage therapist who will be able to make a house call in two days. In the time leading up to the appointment, I repeat the stretches and heating pad and Icy-Hot. By the time of my appointment, I have already started to notice an increase in mobility and a decrease in pain. Afterward, the healing speeds up, and six days after the tweak, I am back to normal... 

Flash forward to the Autumn.

I have been doing another workout routine for a month and a half. This particular workout involves a lot of lunging and kneeling. I had planned to run a 10k with a friend who had been training himself in running. I run my best time ever for that distance. The run is incredible, I feel incredible...at least until later that evening.

I am in the kitchen washing dishes when I notice my knee is a little sore. I ice it and relax for the night- it hurts to go up the stairs, though. The next day I feel a lot better, still tender, but I can handle stairs again.

Three days later I decide to go running again (this turns out not to be one of my better decisions). I run at half speed, and even this is too much. Two laps later, I have to stop altogether because the knee does not enjoy running at all. I nurse it for a few days, but soon enough I’m trying to push it again.

Then one day I notice my knee is making a noise while on my way down the stairs. Not good. The noise is new and scary. I should schedule an appointment with a doctor, but my stubbornness blinds me like the dark side makes the future too cloudy for Jedi to foresee.

I buy a knee brace and start practicing RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation). I start taking the elevators at work to give my knees a break. Thanks to “Dr. Google,” I self-diagnose myself with a slightly torn meniscus. That means three months of mobile rest. I tell myself that I still need to use the knee, because “motion is lotion,” don’t ya know?

I later see a physical therapist, who informs me that I did not tear my meniscus. I had just banged up all the parts of my knee from overuse and I now need to keep my life at low-impact for a while. At the time I make this decision, the majority of my workouts had been running and dancing. Guess what? It’s time to change it up!

So how do we narrow this down and learn from it?

After receiving an injury from training, I prefer to practice the following:


  • Don’t ignore the situation; figure out what happened.
  • Do I need to see a doctor?
  • What is the worst possible outcome?
  • How should I treat this?

Find Your Abilities

  • What can I do safely?
  • Can I still train?
  • What are my alternatives?  


  • How did I do this?
  • How does this part of my body work?
  • What can I do to prevent this from happening again?
  • What kinds of therapy will help this heal?

I change my workouts for a month to strictly crunches and weightlifting only. Neither workout has any impact on my knees. After that time, I test my abilities on an elliptical. Sure enough, I can handle small amounts of time without getting fatigued. Slowly, I increase the time on the machine and eventually discover that I can occasionally take the stairs at work. 

Flash forward to today, December 2016.

I am feeling pretty good, not 100%, but progress is working, and by January 2017 I should be able to try light running on the treadmill.

Setbacks are horrible little things that always seem to find you at the times when it’s most inconvenient. Setbacks do as they imply, inhibiting their victims from accomplishing their goals.

So when something like an injury decides to sneak up during your lengthy quest to lose weight and get fit as it did to me, it’s common to get a little frustrated. Admittedly, like the inflicted part of my body, my emotions swell up; usually with anger. When such a thing happens, I encourage you from experience to choose to not to let it stop you, and to learn from that injury so you can prevent injuries in the future.

© Copyright Whatismyhealth, December 18, 2016