Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Staying Healthy After Injury

This time last year I was healing up from my fifth metatarsal stress fracture in my right foot. I was absolutely devastated when I was diagnosed, but relieved that the pain I was feeling was real.

During my month I was booted, I did exactly what my doctor said. I sat on my couch, watched tv and only took off the boot to drive and shower. Just so happened that when I got my MRI three weeks later, it showed I had healed enough to get out of the boot! I was given strict orders to not run, but walk since I had some nerve damage from where the fracture was. Once I could feel all five of my toes again, I was safe to run!

One year later I am happy to report I have been injury free this entire year! Do I still have random pains in the area, yes, but I know how to deal. I thought today would be a great time to share some tips that have helped me to stay healthy. 

1. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! It sounds so simple, but it truly is the best thing. When I first started running again I was marathon training. Some days felt hard and I just could not do it. That's okay. I would take an extra rest day and not worry about it. Sometimes I would add in some light yoga, or even just sit on the couch in my boot. 

2. Make some adjustments. My stress fracture was mainly caused by me putting too many miles on a pair of shoes. I have over 450 miles on a pair of Wave Rider 17s. While this can happen, after examining my shoes, we could see the exact wear marks lines up for my stress fracture. Now, I rotate my shoes a little earlier. I start cycling in new shoes between 200-215 miles. Once my new pair of shoes have a long run on them, I only wear my old pair for treadmill/shorter runs. So far it's helped! I also learned a lot about the magical powers of KT Tape. Some days I felt like I needed a little more support, and it was perfect. If you ever have questions on how to apply your KT Tape, just ask them! They experimented with how I should do mine and it was perfect. 

3. Cross train. Even if it's simply doing some basic yoga or core workouts, do them! I have two days a week built in to my training for core and strength and it has made so much of a difference. 

4. Recover correctly. Does this seem like a weird topic? Before the boot when I would finish a long run I would shower, eat and nap. In that order. Now, I come home and roll, then shower, ice, stretch, eat and compress while napping. My body would scream to me for this stuff, but I never listened. Such a difference it makes! I also have a massaging shower head wand some sometimes I turn the jets to full blast and massage my IT Bands. It's pretty incredible.

5. Set realistic goals. I think for three months I just ran to run. No goals, just to get back in to shape. I had my first goal race in May at Tink which was six months after getting out of the boot. Ease back in to everything. Let go of the fear. That same athlete will come back, I promise. 

6. Don't go through it alone. I can't describe how humbling it is to come back from injury. I gained about five pounds and felt awful/slow/out of shape when I started back at it. Luckily I have some awesome friends I could talk to about it and some even came out to run with me. If you ever need someone to reach out to, I would be glad to help! No one should have to do this alone. It's tough, I know, but you always have someone who will listen! 

Hopefully this is some sort of help for those of you who are recovering right now. This is just a road block in your journey, it is your choice to decide how you change the course.

Are you currently sidelined with an injury? What is it and how did it happen?


  1. This is such a fantastic post, Steff; thanks so much for sharing this. I'm so proud of you for sticking with it; I know there were some rough spots and you were able to pull through and stay positive. Now you're my little PR queen!!! WOO HOO!!

  2. Great suggestions! I'm going to incorporate more strength training post-injury to make sure I really do everything i can to stay healthy!

  3. I think Wordpress is eating my comments! Try again. This is good to hear, because even though I am sidelined due to my heart issue and not an injury, I know I will feel slow and blah when I come back and I am not looking forward to it. I also had tendonitis on the outside of my left foot, which is getting lots of time to heal now I guess.

  4. Great and timely post! I'm at the edge of recovering from my injury--where I'm itching to run but know I need a bit more time. Anyway, I've started to think about a plan to ease back into running.

  5. Great reminders! I'm thrilled to be ending this year without an injury. The year isn't over yet, but I'm optimistic!

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