Yes, rehabilitating an injury sucks – big time. Yet, if you take part in sports, are active, or are simply alive and kicking, you will have an injury that requires you to rehab it at some point in your life. As a runner, it seems that I get to do more than my share at times.
For me, this most recent Achilles tendon issue has become a royal pain-in-the-arse. Every time I seem to be making a bit of progress, I have another setback. The last one was the most frustrating. Two Fridays ago, I was outside walking and felt something pop in the left Achilles and it hurt like hell.
By the time I got home, it had swelled back up again. Yes, I checked to ensure that I hadn’t torn it. I was pretty sure that I hadn’t, maybe a strand on the inside of the tendon which had been the problem finally let go. Like what happened to me back in 2013.
Did I swear a few times? Sure, but I immediately iced the Achilles and started figuring out how to rehab better this time.
What else could I do?
Piss, moan, and yell at the running Gods, it would do zero good. I know from past experience that rehab is not a straight line upwards. Good days, bad days are the way things are during any rehab and you just have to deal with it. Yes, I was frustrated, but I sucked it up and got going – again. I don’t have time to frig fart around with bitching for long about something I can’t control. All I can do is take control of what I can and then do what needs to be done.
This time, I did the icing according to Wilk’s instructions, followed the mobilization work on the legs more , and attempted not to be too stoopid, errr active. Luckily I didn’t tear it, and icing 2-3 times a day along with the mobilization routine allowed me to move to some light stretching and bodywork, which I have been this week. I have also been experimenting with different resistance band exercises, and I am learning that I prefer them to weights. Resistance bands don’t have that intimidation factor or need to feed my ego by lifting heavier weights. I do the workout and move on.
However, I am now entering the most challenging part of the rehab cycle. The Achilles is beginning to feel like it can handle more, the swelling has almost disappeared, and it is more discomfort than pain. In other words, now is not the time to go out and run two-three miles to check out how much it has healed as much as I may want to.
I know that I am another week or two away from running (yes, it almost always turns out the longer projection is the correct one). So I need to hold steady to what I am doing and return to running very slowly versus thinking that I can pick up where I left off. Not running now will make no difference to my running goals for the year and will force me to do more of the rehab/prehab work that I still need to do.
Plus, I discovered how much other areas need strengthening and mobilization work before I get back to running, especially if I want to run injury-free or at least discomfort-free for as long as possible.
I don’t like rehabbing an injury, but this time the injury may have been a blessing in disguise. It shut me down and forced me to stop and look at what I am doing, what I want to accomplish with my running, and how important running is in my life.
Will I be a better runner after this injury has healed?
I know that I will be.
I also have finally figured out that if I don’t continue the mobilization and other prehab work, the next time, my Achilles injury could be much worse. So I have a choice do the work or have a much more severe injury next time.
You can guess what I am going to keep doing and make it a part of my daily routine.