I started off 2016 with a long overdue rotator cuff surgery. Then just two weeks ago, I was skipping through my house (like any mature adult) and one wrong step resulted in a spiral fracture to my fifth metacarpal aka I broke my foot. At least I knew my injuries weren’t to blame on brittle bones from not getting my daily recommended value of calcium since I religiously take my Cal-EZ so it must have been the skipping – perhaps I’ll stick to walking from here on out. But since the damage was done, I wobbled straight over to my primary care physician (PCP), got an x-ray, and was then sent to an after hours/emergency orthopedics office to get a boot. Needless to say it’s been a landmark year in my medical history.
Overcoming sports injuries can be tough, especially if you’re an athlete, training for a race or event. Sometimes the toughest part of a sports injury is deciding if you should see a specialist or just the general orthopedic doctor.
When I was at the emergency orthopedic office, the physician’s assistant (PA) did a great job. But when I told him I had an appointment with an orthopedic doctor the following day (per my PCP’s referral), the PA told me I didn’t need to see the doctor so soon and recommended I push the appointment back a week.
This advice bothered me for 3 reasons:
- I spent years complaining about my shoulder, and it wasn’t until I demanded to see an orthopedic doctor that I finally got an MRI that showed I needed surgery.
- Even after my shoulder surgery, I still have pain from the tears the general orthopedic doctor left in my rotator cuff (I’m currently seeking the help of a specialist to get a second opinion).
- Because of the pain in my shoulder, running is about the only activity I can do that is pain free. With the fall running season right around the corner, I wasn’t about to wait to find out if my foot needed a cast or a pin. I needed to know ASAP if for nothing but my own peace of mind.
So what did I do? I said to heck with the PA’s advice and kept the orthopedic appointment the following day. Then I started writing this blog post. Why? Because no one knows your body like you do and my hope is this post will serve as a reminder and motivator for you to trust your own gut instinct.
Here are 6 tips to help you address and overcome a sports injury ASAP:
Tip #1 – Trust your gut
I knew for years something was wrong with my shoulder. But I let my brain rationalize away my own gut instinct that kept telling me the doctors were wrong.
Tip #2 – Stick up for yourself
No one is going to do it for you. This is especially important for us ladies. We’re conditioned to feel bad/guilty when questioning people with authority (especially men). And I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you how I almost backed down when I told the PA I wanted to keep my orthopedic appointment only for him to tell me again that I should move it.
Tip #3 – If you don’t like the doctor, get a second opinion
It should go without saying that if you and the doctor assessing your injury don’t jive, then you should find a new doctor. The ortho I saw for my broken foot was fantastic. He was personable and took the time to walk me through my injury and expected recovery time.
Tip #4 – Protect your peace of mind
Anxiety can wreak havoc on our health and minds. And that’s the last thing you need when you’ve just started recovering from an injury. Getting rid of my anxiety was one of the biggest reasons I knew I needed to keep my appointment with the orthopedic doctor (and not take the PA’s advice). I knew I couldn’t last a week not knowing whether I needed surgery or not.
Tip #5 – Keep moving
If you’re an active person, it can be hard to sit still while your body heals from an injury. While you should absolutely abide by whatever your doctor says regarding the treatment of your injury, that doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising. There are plenty of ways to stay active even if they’re not as exciting as the activities you enjoyed before you became injured.
Tip #6 – Stay positive
Overcoming a sports injury isn’t easy and it’s important to stay mentally strong. Keep a positive attitude by focusing on what you can do to keep your body as healthy as possible while you’re recovering. This means eating healthy, taking your vitamins and supplements such as calcium, staying positive and mindful through daily meditation, and continuing to do the exercises and therapy your doctor recommends.
What other tips do you have for overcoming an injury? Please share in the comments!