I would love to be sat here right now writing about my successful return from injury, but that is not the case for me. I am currently sat with my foot elevated for two days following a cortisone injection.
My diagnosis was two stress fractures, which resulted in four MRIs, two CT scans, one Spect CT scan, six weeks non weight bearing in a air cast boot, three more stints on crutches totalling five weeks and counting.
To say that I am frustrated doesn’t begin to cover it. I have done everything by the book to get this injury to settle. Copious amounts of research and many visits to the consultant with conversations of surgery if the bone does not heal on its own.
We decided to give it one last try after the results from the Spect CT scan showed that the stress fracture had begun to settle. Good news. Injection…. now we wait and hopefully begin to build.
As athletes everything we know is to break down barriers and push through the pain to see where our limits are what our body is capable of.
We ask the body physically and mentally to find the strength to give us what we so desperately train for day in day out. Progression in fitness, strength and endurance.
In hindsight, I ask myself what was the cause of my injury and how I can avoid it in the future? My answer is to train smarter. I jumped back into training way to quickly after a big race. Big mistake resulting in a big lesson learned.
Learning how to live with an injury is a funny one. You go through so many emotions and you learn a lot about yourself. For me personally I feel that it has made me a better person as painful as my journey has been and still is. It has increased my awareness and empathy towards others and taught me more about mental health and how it is easy for it to creep up on you without you realising.
Keeping a clear head throughout this injury has been my focus. It is important to look after your mental wellbeing by surrounding yourself with family and friends. I am very lucky to have a great bunch around me who are incredibly supportive.
I have also taken a step back from the pressure of training, it is so easy to think about how everyone else is training while you are not. Focusing on what I can do rather than what I can’t is key.
I also remind myself that reducing training is not a weakness. It takes strength and courage to believe your fitness and strength will come back. You have to believe that when you get back to training what you have had to endure can only make you stronger. Could your competitors keep their head as well as you did? Do not underestimate the added mental strength an injury can bring.
Injuries are sometimes inevitable even if you train by the book. Triathlon training repetitively stresses muscles, tendons, and the tissues around joints and bones. This continuous stress produces repetitive microtrauma. This normally occurs when you are either overtrained, deficient in nutrition or have caused trauma to an area and not given it enough time to recover.
Overuse injuries result from the body’s inability to keep up with repair of the damage created by repetitive microtrauma. The body’s tissue eventually breaks down – resulting in pain, inflammation, and weakness.
Ignoring the pain and inflammation and continuing to train will lead to further microtrauma and disruption of the tendon, muscle or bone.
The worst case scenario is an injury that could result in weeks or months away from your triathlon training and competition like myself. If you need advice or need to manage your injury, I highly recommend that you utilise expert advice.
Don’t hang around, get your injury seen to!
Here is a simple guide on how to avoid injuries:
I personally use the following:
- Whey Protein Powder – after strength and conditioning sessions
- Rego Rapid Recovery – after long sessions in the pool/bike/run
- Go Electrolyte Powder – during sessions for energy and replenish salts lost
- Hydro Tablets – I use these all the time, for training or sipping throughout the day