Injuries, make the best of them

Everybody gets injured and you have two options how you deal with it. You can either get depressed, sit on the sofa and get fat eating chips or you can make the best of the situation. Give yourself a mental slap in the face and hear your Mama’s voice in your head, remember what she used to say when you skinned your knee and it hurt? “At least you HAVE a knee, think about all those boys who are missing legs.”

Three weeks ago, I tweaked my knee on a 10K run. No idea what I did but the next morning I had drastically reduced range of motion and soreness. It was slowly getting better when I had to install a very, very heavy battery backup unit in our cramped server room at work. The contorted, stretched positions didnt bother at the time but the next morning I couldnt walk. At first I was depressed. It was a beautiful fall day, no wind, clear sky, temperatures in the upper 70’s – absolutely perfect for a bike ride or run. How I wanted to be up there climbing my favorite hill thru the redwood forest! I wallowed in self pity a few hours then gave myself that mental slap in the face I mentioned earlier and changed my mindset. I went swimming!

My screwed up knee has truly been a mixed blessing. Nobody wants a inoperable knee but its reintroduced me to the joys of swimming. Ya, Ive been doing triathlons for the last 3 years but I havent trained seriously for the swimming part. Now that I have no other cardio options, its amazing how Im seeing cardio in a new light. Under water is one of the few places in the modern world where it is quiet, truly quiet.The only sounds are the bubbles from my breath and the rhythmic woosh woosh woosh of my hands plunging into the water. No jets overhead, no sirens, no horns, no fans. It allows the mind to focus intently on the senses of touch and sound. When I am doing things right, I can feel the waterline on my butt, the back of my hamstrings, and calves. I feel its a whole new world opened up to me. Ive always been a strong but slow swimmer and never before have I looked forward to swimming, until now that is. I swam the last 4 days, 30-40 min each day and was bummed when I had to stop because of leg cramps in my bum leg, otherwise I would have gone longer.

Not sure whats up with my knee, Im still optimistically hopeful that its nothing serious enough to require surgery. Its truly unlike any knee problem I have ever heard of. Its not getting better despite complete rest and multiple daily icings so I will make an appt Monday. In the meantime, I wont dwell on what I *cant* but rather enjoy the opportunity to swim.

Helen, my 94 year old neighbor has been a great influence on me. She has such a marvelous outlook on life which is why she is still mentally sharp and physically active at 94. She takes life one day at a time because each may be her last. She has a catalog of aches and pains but she doesnt dwell on them, each day she finds something she *can* do, and she enjoys doing it. Thanks Helen! Time for me to go for todays swim!

9 thoughts on “Injuries, make the best of them”

  1. comfort inn of west chester
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  2. Hi Scooby,
    I’m one of those 43 yr old’s that has had the thought process of “All or nothing”. I had a medial-epicondolytus in my left elbow about 2.5 yrs ago. Couldn’t even rinse my face after shaving without severe pain. After several different types of treatments and therapy, it was decided a year ago to have surgery to remove the degeneration from underneath the tendons. Healing time was expected from between 6-12 or even 18 months. I’m about 95% healed now. It may not get to 100%. During all this time I didn’t want to work abs or legs, even though I could have, I wanted to work everything or nothing. I did get into running eventually but now have what they think might be compartment syndrome in my lower right leg. Kind of like a shin splint that won’t go away. All this to say that for some of us, it will always be one thing or another as we get older. Keeping the focus on what we HAVE and CAN do is better than what we don’t have or can’t do. I truly like how you offer alternatives for those with injuries to help us keep lifting and staying in shape.

  3. Hey Scooby,
    I really hope you read at least this comment. Can I fix your knee? Not necessarily BUT I really recommend you read what Mike Robertson has to say about knee problems.
    In the same way that you’ve changed my life and had me start up Mike’s information (which is largely free) has helped me take things to the next level. For anyone with shoulder problems I’d read up on Eric Cressey, anyone with knee, lower back problems I would tell to read everything Mike Robertson has out there and for lower back specifically Stuart McGill is great in that area. The guys I’ve mentioned have been most influential and helpful in that area and so many more. The info CAN be a bit technical but I think it really might help you get at least a hint about your knee problem (and everyone I’ve mentioned has helped a lot of “undiagnosable, mystery or trouble” cases).
    After my own injury I became absolutely intent on “injury proofing” and “balancing” my body. Endless reading about posture, force coupling, anatomy, shoulders, etc. has done a lot and Mike Robertson’s assess and correct has helped me to diagnose and work to solve all of my mobility issues and muscular imbalances. Hopefully I’ll be a success story on your site one day..
    If anyone wants to contact me I’m paralysisxiii on the forums


  4. Sorry to hear about your injury, good to hear you are staying positive though. In June I broke my scaphoid in a pretty nasty bike crash which also damaged the cartilage/tendons in the wrist etc. Only last Monday was I able to get back into your program (advanced intermediate) and be able to do all the exercises. I must admit it was really hard when I broke the scapoid to stay positive, but I still worked my abs, kept eating really healthy and then later put my efforts into physio. Fingers crossed I will be all healed up by the end of the year and able to do a proper set of pushups. Good luck with your knee, I hope it heals up ok.

  5. I can tell atleast about Hindi translation – nobody can understand what you want to say here! Google Translation sucks boss. :-( To understand what I mean, try to retranslate it back into English from Hindi. It will give you many laughs.

  6. Hey Scoob-

    This is a timely article for me- I have a torn miniscus in my right knee from wrestling my freshman year of high school (I’m 25, now), and very occasionally, it will pop out of place temporarily. The other day, it was displaced for about 24 hours, and I was on crutches- it was very sore for the next couple of days after it went back in. I am getting health insurance soon and hope to get arthoscopic repair done on it in the next few months. Furthermore, I have tweaked my left shoulder recently. Now, instead of hitting up the school gym with my normal bench press, squats, etc. I have been rediscovering the joy of pushups and simple home free hand exercises. Using just my bodyweight has helped me rehab my shoulder, and I am happy to compare my pushup progress from where I started when I was just working out at home about 6 months ago! Before, I was doing about four sets of 10-11 on pushups; now, I am doing four sets of 17-18 on pushups!

    In a way, it has been a mixed blessing, like you noted for yourself- for me, it’s been getting reacquainted with the bread and butter home workouts that you so strongly recommend. Furthermore, I live in Kansas, and find it very hard at times to motivate myself to get to the gym when it is 30 degrees outside and snowing- for me, I know that working out at home as the weather gets bad will help me to keep on track. Now, more than ever, I pay attention to form and listen to my body! Thank you Scoob, and I wish us both speedy recoveries!

  7. Hi Scooby,
    Your Mother’s motivational speech after you had skinned your knee reminded my of what mine used to say to me after injuring myself – “I am sure it will better before your married!”

  8. Hi Scooby
    I recently injured my shoulder during a “heavy week” workout. It has taught me a valuable lesson – too much weight leads to bad form, which leads to injury. Instead of quitting working out for weeks, I changed from dumbells to barbell (as I have no spotter), dropped weight down by 20% and really concentrated on form and rythm – 3 secs up 3 secs down. I have been getting amazing DOMS for days after each workout and my shoulder is now healed. Needless to say I won’t be making that mistake again. Thanks for all the great information Scooby, I have been following your workouts for 3 years now.


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