Road to Recovery

If you’ve ever thought a sports injury would stop you exercising or playing your favourite sport ever again, Chris Peil from the Move Well Project has some good news for you.

“My role as a rehabilitator is to support people in being able to do the activities that they want to do, at the level that they want to do them, without having the injury,” he says.

Like many of us, Chris knows what it’s like to have a health care professional tell you to give up – but understands that could simply be in order to avoid straining already stretched NHS resources.

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Chris is a mobility practitioner and exercise referral specialist

“The easiest way to stop somebody being injured from an activity that they’re doing is to not do the activity. So we will often get the advice ‘Oh that hurts you stop doing that’…

“So it’s a different mentality – it’s much more like a professional sport mentality of ‘Okay we’ve got this person who has an injury, and we’re actually going to help them to get back to fitness for what they want to do’ as opposed to ‘oh it’s unfortunate this person’s injured, they can no longer do that’.”

Refreshingly, the mentality he refers to involves being proactive in your recovery, not passive.

“One of the big issues – and this is what the Move Well Project is about – is that, traditional therapy, traditional medicine tends to take the view that the person comes in and something is done to them.

“They are given a medication or they are given a massage and they just lie there, they do nothing.

“In reality that is not how you get conditioned back – to being resilient enough to do the activity without a normalised risk of injury.”

Chris has helped people ranging from registered disabled who want to improve their quality of life, right through to “the strongest guy to have ever walked the planet”.

Eddie Hall
The World’s Strongest Man focuses on recovery too (picture – BBC)

We’re talking Eddie Hall, who was crowned the World’s Strongest Man in 2017.

Anyone who’s seen the 30-year-old from Newcastle-under-Lyme in action will know he can dead-lift half a tonne – that’s the weight of a horse.

I was also pretty impressed by a one-armed “human dumb-bell” display on Instagram!

And yes, Eddie Hall gets injured too – most recently his hip.

“Ed’s injury was from pushing the boundaries, so anyone who’s in elite sport is having to push the boundaries of how much stress you can create in training and then recover from in order to get to be higher performance,” says Chris.

However, there is a difference – in that Eddie Hall incorporates the idea of recovery into his tough, well-documented training regime.

“He focussed on the other side of the equation, because it’s easy to create stress, creating stress in training is quite easy, recovering from that stress enough to actually be fitter, stronger, that’s the thing that you can actually potentially speed up and that’s where he focussed.”

This incorporated plenty of sleep, correct nutrition, hydration, “hands-on therapy” and even using a hyperbaric chamber to increase his oxygen supply.

“It’s the Yin to the Yan…” says Chris  “He balanced out everything he was doing with the most recovery work he could possibly do.”

Chris does see plenty of people who want to train like a Champion without deploying the necessary life-style changes.

Okay, maybe not a hyperbaric chamber.

But one of the most common mistakes, Chris says, is that people will “throw themselves in very quickly once they get effectively ‘signed-off’ by the physio – ‘yes you’re okay to train again’.”

Kettlebells
Kettlebells are just one aspect of strength training

Instead, a gradual, balanced approach is the key – and the good news is – if you’re careful, you can still challenge yourself, even in the process of recovery.

“Too much stress too quickly increases injury risk, not enough stress means that it’s not resilient enough for the demands.”

Chris also believes wearable technology, which gauges things like your heart-rate and even sleep quality, can lead to a more tailored training approach.

But a lot of his work is simply about helping people cope.

Chris Peil - Kettlebell
Chris has competed as a strongman, an Olympic lifter and an indoor rower

He sites examples of helping one woman avoid spinal surgery and “another lady literally had a broken back and we got her back to be able to function when she’d been off work for a significant period of time”.

So there you have it, it would appear there is hope for everyone!

Although I’m sure Chris would stress that – if you do have a sports injury – it’s still important to see your doctor or a health care professional before making a comeback.

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When you can’t run the London Marathon

I’m one of the many runners who won’t be taking part in today’s London Marathon – but that’s for the simple and shockingly straightforward reason that I haven’t entered it!London Marathon - Eddie Keogh Reuters

Consider then, the poor individuals who have – but who’ve had to pull out through injury or illness.

One of my former work colleagues says on FaceBook he’s “gutted” he’s had to sit this one out, but urges other runners “have a great race and soak up the atmosphere”.

But the good news – for those who got in via the ballot – is if you had to withdraw your entry through illness or injury the organisers say they will guarantee you an entry for the 2018 event – as long as you follow these guidelines, that is!

Good Luck to everyone taking part today.

 

Choice – or is it?

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Yes I do remember when all the above applied.

And you know what?

None of this was directly down to an unhealthy choice, it was down to a supposedly healthy necessity – I’d broken a bone in my foot and doctors advised me not to do any exercise that involved putting weight on it (in other words my normal exercise routine!)

Admittedly I could have been more creative in how I adapted my workouts but in practice this didn’t happen.

One of the many results was a limited choice for work outfits for summer.  A big bust, flabby upper arms and a slight belly are better off hidden under baggy black tops. The Guerrilla training I was forbidden to do would’ve sorted the issue.

Now, of course, that’s in the past. And I’m very, very grateful I can run today – I’m in my running gear as I type this and the sun is shining outside! Am I procrastinating?

Good Luck to everyone who likes working out but who’s still recovering from injury. It won’t happen overnight but it will happen! Hang on in there.

Crutches versus Glamour

Gratitude, as I said in my Blogiversary post, is a many-splendoured thing. gratitude

I had a glorious Guerrillas workout again this morning, as opposed to this time last year, when I was rocking the granny shoe look.

This unflattering form of footwear was the only equipment offered me, and I have looked at many accoutrements made available to others who underwent leg injuries.

For example I would’ve enjoyed the services of a knee scooter and so, I’m pretty sure, would my friends in the pub!f0c9ae3cfa7bd1d3445449e01db4150a

The magical Marilyn Monroe knew that crutches certainly were NOT a Girl’s Best Friend – but that didn’t keep her away from the cameras.

Note the interesting combination of stiletto heel with the bandaged foot shown right – she doesn’t look too happy does she?

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Marilyn out jogging in Hollywood in 1951

I had imagined that, as Marilyn was no stranger to the joys of exercise, (regularly going jogging before it caught on as a trend) her frustration could only be imagined.

She sprained her ankle whilst filming in 1953 and not happy with the conditions in which she was injured, reportedly insisted on wearing a cast and taking time out of the schedule – to get back at the director!

If I’m wrong on the above please let me know – I’m admittedly no expert on Monroe, but I like her spirit.

MEANWHILE!

Hopefully, most leg injuries are temporary in the great scheme of things, but – for those who do currently have a broken foot like I did – and/or need crutches like Marilyn – here are some questions to ask yourself/your doctor/your best mate etc etc:

  • Will you be able to rest your injured limb on the ground? If so, can you use it for balance while walking?
  • How can you bathe? Can you stand in the shower, or do you need to use a bath tub?
  • Can you just use one crutch as a cane? If so, what’s the best way to walk with a cane?
  • Can you go swimming?
  • What are the best ways to position your arms and maintain posture while using crutches?

Blogiversary!

Well – give or take a couple of days, it’s my first Blogiversary!

In plaster

Breaking a bone in my foot which stopped me doing my favourite workouts was just the catalyst I needed – as I never have been an “ideas woman”, yet knew I needed to blog.

The idea was ultimately to give hope, not least to myself, but to anyone else for whom exercise is a way of life that’s suddenly taken away from them.me-xray-foot

I broke my fifth metatarsal in my left foot falling off the arm of the sofa whilst swatting at the smoke alarm – my boyfriend had been cooking sausages.

Gratitude is no bad thing. Today I just threw on my kit and did what I normally do, just go out for a run. This time last year that simply wasn’t an option.

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Ugh – just LOOK at that shoe!

We are talking a crazy-sized granny shoe and the geriatric “hobbling” which easily made me appear much older than my years.

And I’m comparatively lucky.

During the course of this blog I featured the story of Austin Rathe, who faced the real possibility of leg amputation after a road accident – and developed his resolve to run a marathon whilst recovering in hospital.

Detail from The Hostile Forces, Beethoven frieze, by Klimpt
Flab fear – I don’t want to look like this

I wanted a dancer who’d recovered from injury – and she came along in the unlikely form of Amber Kershaw, then aged nine, who’d recovered from a broken arm to street-dance on a competitive level.

Blogging is a steep learning curve and I’m still learning.

Part of the fun, of course, is seeing how well each blog post does – it really is quite fun looking at the stats.

In that respect, by far my most successful post was Maxing Out, which featured fellow blogger Christian Boyles, from Illinois, US, of Maxed Out Muscles.

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Nerves? Yes! A shaky selfie just before my return to Guerrillas

 

Having suffered depression and flare-ups of Crohn’s Disease he told me: “I wanted to take control of my life and not allow myself to become sick again.”

Another high-hitter was Does Yoga Heal? a Q and A with my yoga instructor Espi Smith.

My inevitable fears over putting on weight led to an article on my pet hate – dieting. And I’ll level with you, the inevitable flabbiness caused by lack of exercise did impact on the choice of clothes I could wear for work in the unforgiving summer.

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Yup, I’ve learned to be grateful

Of course there were land-marks along the way in my recovery – getting the six-week all-clear at the fracture clinic, my return to running – and Guerrilla Training!

And whether I was able to run or not, I kept in regular contact with ParkRun – where, much to my surprise, I returned to do a Personal Best.

In the end it was simply a question of patience and letting the bone recover, as it inevitably did.

But this blog did (and still does , as I have no intention of finishing it) help tremendously.

So it’s true – Time really is the great healer.

Along with blogging!

Jonty’s Journey – the update

20151128_134544ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) Injury is common among footballers – and can bring with it a frustratingly-long recovery period.

In April I spoke to Jonty Sargent – a football-mad sports presenter at Signal Radio forced to the side-lines by an injury sustained in a tackle during a Signal 1derers game in August 2014.

A catch-up revealed he no longer needs his crutches – but, in terms of regaining his confidence, it’s very early days indeed.

In May, surgeons cut a section off his hamstring and used that to replace two of the cruciate ligaments in his knee.

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A tiny scar – and Christmas socks

So he can do run-of-the-mill stuff which we mostly take for granted like using the stairs and walking the dog. He continues his “rehab” with twice-weekly physio sessions, and yes, he can now run and use the leg press at the gym.

So, I asked, were they ever times he thought things would never return to normal?

Jonty replied: “Well that’s the thing, to be fair I don’t think it ever will. In reality it’s always going to be that thing at the back of your mind…

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Jonty presents a regular podcast with Stoke City player Chris Iwelumo

“With playing football I’m unsure of whether or not I’ll really play again if not for a few months minimum at least. But I’ll never have a normal attitude to sport and running about.

“I’m always now going to be wary that it’s going to give way – and that it’s going to snap, essentially.”

And he knows he’s in good company.

“I ‘spose you get this with a lot of injuries – especially footballers and stuff – if you get a bad tackle and then, if you see that player again, or even walking back on to the pitch, you’re going to be so wary of it. 20151128_141112

“And you see, in particular with footballers, that they’re never quite the player they were.”

However, he’s still involved with his passion via his work at Signal.

“When people who don’t quite make it as footballers (go into) radio and TV and media, I mean some people can go into the coaching and management, that’s the closest thing you can get to it which is quite good and I enjoy my job.

“I do miss football – in particular the big charity games that we get invited to play in and I can’t play in them, it’s really disheartening, but like I say being close to the sport in my job is something that I enjoy.”

Meanwhile he’s getting light-hearted advice on what exercise he can take from players like Jermaine Jenas – and, as evident in the video below, he’s sufficiently recovered to play Mini Ping Pong with Chris Iwulemo!