SparkPeople Blogs  •  running  •  injury

I'm Injured. So Now What?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I’ve blogged many times about how running is an important part of my life and something I really enjoy. For the past 6 weeks or so, it’s been anything but enjoyable. I started having pain in my Achillies after a particularly hilly run. Instead of resting like I knew I should have (and like I would tell any SparkPeople member who asked for advice), I decided to just keep pushing through the pain. After a few weeks it was obvious that the pain wasn’t going away, so I made an appointment to see an orthopedic doctor. It took three weeks to get an appointment, so silly me kept running.

I started to dread runs instead of looking forward to them, but what else was I supposed to do? Running is a big part of who I am. How would I feel if I had to become a walker or a swimmer for a little while? The very stubborn side of me wasn’t willing to find out. I was also afraid that they were going to give me some terrible news, like I had a massive injury that would take years to heal. (Can you tell I get a little paranoid about these kinds of things?) So I wanted to get in as much running as possible before I had to hear that diagnosis. Dumb, I know.

I’ve been diagnosed with Achilles tendonitis and have started physical therapy. My doctor said he hopes to get me to the point where I can walk/jog a 10K by Thanksgiving. I was secretly hoping he could cast a magic spell that would get me back to running in a week. But realistically, I knew that wasn’t going to happen.

My family and friends all know how much running means to me. When I tell someone I’m injured and unable to run, their first reaction is usually "Oh no! I bet you’re fun to live with right now!" But really, it hasn’t been quite as terrible as I expected. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally bummed that I’m injured. But there are things I can still do, and activities I have more time for now that I didn’t before. I’m doing more strength training and trying some of the workout videos that have been collecting dust on my shelf. I’ve also started taking daily walks with my dog, pushing my kids in a double stroller. It’s not the greatest workout, but everyone enjoys the time out side exploring new parts of our neighborhood.

In a way, this injury has been helpful because it forces me to get more creative with my workouts and find other things I enjoy doing. It’s easy to have tunnel vision when you find an activity you love, focusing only on particular classes at the gym, training for the next event, or walking the same route around your neighborhood each day. There are lots of ways to get exercise, and I’d encourage you to try new activities that you might not have considered lately. It can help improve your overall fitness level, break a weight loss plateau, or just become a new activity you learn to love.

Has injury ever forced you to try new activities? Have you recently broken out of your routine to try something new? How did that work for you?

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See more: running injury changes


CHERYLHURT 3/31/2021
Thanks Report
MUSICNUT 8/7/2020
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
Thanks for sharing! Report
Wonderfully insightful blog. Report
thanks for sharing Report
It’s so tough taking time off from your favourite activity. When I see other runners outside it makes me depressed and sad. Starting new activities is definitely something I’m going to have to do for a while. At least the good weather is here. Report
Listen to the doctor and PT and take it from there Report
Take it easy and follow the advice of your doctor, so you can get back to your love and that is running. Report
Hiking 3 miles daily, Jazzercize 3 times/week and weight training classes, plus working retail on my feet all day left me with very painful case of Achilles inflammation. Dr. said I had to rest and get off my feet. But, how was I going to exercise and burn calories. I was 65 pounds down!
My hikes took me past the kayak rental. So, I decided to try kayaking. A high calorie burning exercise that engages most of the body while not having to be on my feet.
I got hooked! I rented the first summer, used the rowing machine at the gym through winter, and bought my own lightweight small kayak for my second summer.
When a fellow kayaker paddled with his dog on board, I decided to get a dog to join me on my excursions. The Cleveland Animal Protective League Shelter even allowed me to bring my kayak into the "Meet & Greet" room to see how the dogs reacted to the boat. I adopted a German Shorthair Pointer mix female who was, at age 6, considered a senior dog. The first thing I did was get her a life vest to match the lime green boat and off we went cruising the river and on calmer days, Lake Erie. Dogs in boats know they're cool! haha
It was a blessing in disguise to have that Achilles inflammation! I discovered a new sport, which lead me to adopting a pooch who is the love of my life, and I made new friends as a paddled past marinas & even dated a sailor I met while kayaking.
I've learned in life that every "challenge" has a lesson and a blessing. I just have to look for them. Report
I am unable to run any more. I have all I can do to walk. I retired in Jan of this year and the most I can do is march in place! I had a total Right knee done in 2013 and it doesn't bend or straighten all the way! Bicycling is a chore, walking is disgusting. My knee buckles and I never know when I might land on my face. I tore the meniscus on the other knee about a year after the total knee and I also now have bone on bone pain! I miss running, but I'm glad I can march in place and walk some! Report
Tendonitis in right rotator cuff. Told no more zumba and some of the curves machines til finish 6 weeks of physical therapy til it heals. Start physical therapy in a week.
Need ideas for exercises i can do while this heals that are fun. Dont like running.
Im addicted to Zumba. Maybe i can do Zumba eliminating the arm movements. I got down to my goal weight doing this and curves and dont want to gain more back. Report
Thanks for this blog. I've been icing and wrapping my left knee in ace bandages for the past week. The healing has begun. But I did have to adjust my workouts becquse I couldn't put much pressure on the knee. But I'm getting stronger. Report
I fell in my house the week of 7/4/10. Didn't know it was a problem til 4 days later when I couldn't put pressure on the left leg. A very frustrating journey to the Ortho dr in August resulting in surgery to repair tw tears in menicus ligament. Have been through 4 months of PT and am now on my own. I've tried walking and sometimes that;s worked with no catch in the knee. With the bad snow in Chicago this winter, I've curtailed walking outside even in 30 degrees. I tried t jumpstart myself with the 28-day bootcamp, but that didn't work for me. I've gained 10 lbs. which is very upsetting. Focusing on strength training and exercises from PT. Plan to start walking again outside as long as there's no ice. Report
Torn rotator cuff! Changed things up a bit and in the end it has been very positive. I now have abs of steel! Report
I've had achilles tendonitis for years now. I was first told to just stretch it well and ice it after step classes and other activities. I found great relief with acupressure and acupuncture. I have cut back on my step classes and now I have been doing more dance exercise dvd's . Report
I have had chronic Achillies tendonitis for 19 years now. Like you, I hurt it but kept going. I was not much of a runner at the time it happened (just doing the 1.5 miles to get through Basic Training), but now I am shuffling (it is not really running- I use my knees more than my ankles to "run") up to 2.9 miles. It is not pretty, but I am seeing results I have never been able to see doing other aerobic exercises. My advice- follow the doctor's orders and give it time to heal. This is not something you want to have to live with the rest of your life. I have been in and out of PT, my ankles give out regularly (the last time was six weeks ago and resulted in a sprained ankle. I am going in for a MRI next week to see if the ligament tore because it is not healing), and I live in a state of constant pain- sometimes just a dull ache, sometimes so bad I cannot sleep. My physical therapist says it is just a matter of time before it tears, which, while painful, will acutally be a good thing because it will be stronger after the surgery. There are also some really good isometric exercises you can do to strengthen the tendon after you have mended a bit.
Good luck! Report
I had nowhere to go for karate training for about 3 months. I guess you could say I was suffering a "blockage" because I was being blocked from doing what I really loved. I was cranky, depressive, whiney, ad nauseum. My husband finally took me aside and told me that he loved me very much and was sorry my dojo hadn't worked out, but I had to find another one real fast or he was going to have to investigate an intervention.

I understand how you feel. When you can't "do" something, either because of injury or unavailability, it does affect you more than physically. It's also important to find something to replace whatever you were doing so you can maintain the focus you've trained yourself to have while allowing things to get back to normal. Report
I just discovered playing soccer. I was so excited about being able to run as much as I did. But, I came away from it with a strained quadricep. Aaarrgggh! Me and soccer just met! We don't need this strain in our relationship! I have found that if I continue to workout, it keeps it loose. I won't give up that soccer yet! I'll be back at it as soon as possible! Report
Just over two weeks ago, I fell hiking through a disc golf course with the family. I hit my left knee really hard. My first thought was the 5K (my first 5K race) I was going to register for, but now realized I probably couldn't. After a week of resting and only taking walks, I decided to try my elliptical again. My knees and feet seem to be healing (I also have plantar fascitis) and I got inspired to clean my basement, which really needed it. I've come up with a great routine alternating the elliptical, weights, and crunches, then repeating the cycle for three total times. I'm more likely now to do all aspects of my workout, including stretching. My body is also healing since the elliptical in low-no impact. Thanks for the great blog. Report
Currently rehabing achilles tendonitis myself. I am thankful for it. It is teaching me the importance of rest. I am learning proper form and alignment FOR MY BODY in my yoga class. I am learning more about my muscles and body. I am learning how to work towards a goal with out PUSHING through. Swimming, rowing machine and qigong are my friends instead of hot yoga and brisk walking. You are very lucky to have such a short diagnosis for recovery. Mine is more like 12 weeks which seemed like a death sentence at first. Consider ice dipping rather than ice packs for a week. 10 sec dip, 4 mins massage - repeat 10 times. Gets the inflammation down much better than the ice packs in my opinion. Good luck getting back on the road. Report
I had an injury when I started to exercise. the reason I did not listen to my body and that cost me to stay away for almost 2 years, I injury my neck even today I have to take it easy. Please listen to your body Report
I am a competitive tennis player who trains 5 days a week on court and I broke my wrist and had to wait for surgery which took a year. (long story) all and all my recovery from the time I broke my wrist, having surgery, and physio and strength building was 1 year and 11 months before I was able to even hit a tennis ball again. I didn't know what I was going to do with myself when I couldn't play tennis. But then I found a local city fitness facility that had drop in classes for Step and Kickboxing to keep me in shape and work on my fitness in a different way. It was hard to adjust to the lack of cardio at first but then I saw other results (toning) and started to see light at the end of the tunnel of dispair. I am now back on the court for almost a year now and winning tournaments again and still doing both. I think everything happens for a reason and think that it was a blessing in disguise to have broken my wrist because it has also made me so much more grateful that I can still play and I don't take it for granted. Report
You could have been reading my mind when you wrote this blog... or living in my body... I too followed a similar path: injury - continued running (after all, I had races to train for, right?!!?) - further injury - Ortho - PT... only difference is I ended with surgery and more PT, and 18-24 months without running. Major bummer, and the scale reflected the fact that I was using food to assuage my feelings. I don't know if I'll ever really be able to run again, but I keep moving forward assuming that I will - one day. In the meantime, I totally resisted any other kind of exercise (c'mon people, I'm a RUNNER) until I put on 15 lbs. and realized that something had to give - my identity as a runner or my success on SP. I gave up my identity, and am now training in swimming and cycling. I don't love it, but I do love the fact that the scale has moved back down and I'm getting my endorphins again. Who knows, maybe when I can run again I'll even keep swimming and cycling, and become a better triathlete than I was a runner! Report
I, too, had achilles tendonitis and kept walking, thinking it would go away. It took awhile to heal, but by cutting the hills out of my walk and stretching, I eventually got back to full strength! Report
Forgot to say, I did Gilad every day, twice a day for 3 months and saw no weight loss, got more compact, but not a pound loss and was also on delivered diet. Who has gotten results with a back injury. Need advice. Report
Does anyone know how to run if you have a floating vertebrae in your lower back?
Is there a specific shoe, a type of step, is it possible to run? Report
I run 5k three times a week and it deff gets hard toward the end:( Report
This definitely applies to me right now. Today I sprained my ankle, and I can't put any weight on it right now, so it's gonna be awhile before I can get back to my usual cardio work out. Now I'll have to find some exercises I can do without using my foot or ankle. So I need to think like this and keep up with my work. Report
I totally hear you about changing your running workout after an injury. I found out I had arthritis in my hips and right knee. So, to preserve my bones, I have more calcium and I have taken up power walking instead. With my first 5k, I ran it in 44:22 (slow I know). But, in my second one, since I couldn't run it, I power walked and you know what? My new time was 41:24. I shaved almost 3 minutes off my time. Hopefully next year, I will have it down more. Report
For those who have serious injuries, I have one tip: GET LOTS OF OPINIONS. My husband was injured skiing--torn ligament. He went to four different orthopedic surgeons and got four different diagnoses. Please, DO NOT accept the first diagnosis without getting a second opinion. Your doc may be great but the field is highly specialized, and a lot of docs don't like to admit the limits of their knowledge. P.S. My husband chose Doc #3, with a ligament reconstruction. The surgery was painful but a huge success. Four years later, he's back to working out and skiiing, and is coaching our daughter's soccer team. Report
Thank you for your great post. I had a similar experience, except that the activity was biking and the injury was patellar tendinitis. I stopped exercising for several weeks while I began physical therapy, and am now starting back up. This is probably my third stress injury in my lifetime, so I'm focusing intensely on the PT. Your post reminded me why it's important to start gradually getting back into the biking. I know you will get back into it as well--don't rush it, though, or you'll have a chronic injury dogging you for years. If you have a pool nearby you can use, maybe you can try taking your kids. They'll love playing with you in the pool and it will help you stretch the rest of your body. Report
I went to a power pump class dor the first time yesterday, and although i stopped at times i felt a great sense of achievement after and felt as if i had challenged myself and my body. Report
I have chondromalacia in my knees which gets extremely frustrating. I'll be running for a few months or rollerblading and then out of nowhere it'll cause such terrible pain that sometimes even walking is out of the question. It's so unpredictable and so many people tell me to try swimming, icing, etc. But how do you explain to someone just how doing a certain thing makes you feel when you REALLY REALLY love it? For me, I love skating (rollerblading in the summer). It's really frustrating to have new things you want to try out while skating and not even be able to go. And to know that you may never be as able for it as you'd like to be. It's only supposed to last a few years the doctor said, but I've had it for a lot longer than I supposedly should have... I do want to try some new things, but it's always hard to get the incentive to get up and go try something new. Good luck Jen, I'm sure you'll be back to running in no time! Don't overdo it! Report
M shoulder push me out of strength training and I hated it! Report
I had to give up my favorite exercise--fitness walking--years ago due to diabetic neuropathy. I have found a new fav in the Nu-Step recumbent cross trainer and eagerly look forward to each workout. The only problem is fighting with the other gym members to get on this wonderful machine which will not hurt your joints at all or your feet yet gives you a wonderful workout of every muscle in your body as well as cardio. I encourage any one who has lost a favorite workout to be creative and keep looking until you find something you CAN enjoy again. Report
I had to stop running forever because of bad back problems and the fact that I teach alot of fitness classes and am very active in other ways. I have switched all my classes to lo impact (which is not low energy) but the biggest change was the running. I had signed up for the Baltimore 1/2 marathon and had been training religiously. When I found out I couldn't run I went into a funk about the race but then realized that I could walk it and still "compete". So I continued my training and completed the 1/2 marathon last Saturday walking it in 3:16. It was still very hard but actually probably more enjoyable walking it - got to see more around me and was able to talk a little to my walking partner. Still recovering though! Report
Yes, & it has been very frustrating. I slipped on some stairs in April. Wore a walking cast for two months and wrapped the ankle & foot for an additional two months. So yoga and walking (between 4-7 miles daily) weren't even a possibility. I am back to walking about 30-45 minutes daily, but my foot hurts the rest of the day after I walk. It has been extremely difficult & I have really gotten out of shape again!! Report
Oh yeah, I've had a few injuries that sidelined me from lifting and it just makes me so mad! I just had injections in both wrists last week, so wasn't able to go to the gym and lift all week. I stayed home all week sulking, but I'm heading back tomorrow and will only do what I can. I should have gone anyway and did what I was able! I hate being injured :( Report
My right foot has bothered me for over a year now. I was in a boot for six months. The real pain was being unable to drive at times.
I am walking in the park now without the aid of any type of boot. Report
I injured my knee yrs back & couldn't afford the time off or cost of reconstruction (as a
result I have no ACL-knee instability).I became horribly depressed-no more running,or
roller blading,etc-gained weight.I would advise people to follow through & really do
everything required. Report
Oh Jen, I feel your pain. Late this spring I started having a shin splint in my left leg. It still bothers me occasionally. Years ago, I started a jogging class in college with a stress fracture. I had been working out on a mini-tramp w/o stretching. 3 months later I got tired of the increasing pain and saw my doctor. Be patient - I know, that's easy to say from here. Rehab is worth it. Report
I'm still dealing with an injury. I fell off my bike and broke my arm at the beginning of July. It was quite a bad break, I will have a plate and pins in my arm forever, was in a cast for 9 weeks, am still dealing with mobility issues, can't bear much weight on it, etc.
So there were lots of downsides: pain for the first few weeks, losing independence--I couldn't, or didn't, drive while I was in the cast--, being unable to swim during the summer, except for one glorious day at my brother's cottage, unable to do the active yoga I prefer, unable to ride my bike,muscle wasting in my arm, a loss of my identity as a super-fit, super-active woman. Since I teach piano, it was also a real blow to that identity as well.
But there were lots of positives, too: walking or taking the bus everywhere in my small city, learning to ask for help which sure connects you to a lot of people, rejoicing in small improvements which happen every day, greater compassion for people who deal with pain and disability every day of their lives, a chance to slow down, think about what makes me what I am, which is not my exercise plan or even my profession, but my friends and family and my thoughts and feelings.
I'm back on my bike and doing yoga and pilates, but I do it because it feels wonderful, not because that is what I must do to be who I am. I am grateful for every day. Report
Yep. Tendonitis of the posterior tibialis had me sidelined for most of the summer, which sucked hugely because I walk a lot. I switched in some swimming (*hate*) and some biking, but it was a huge relief to get back to my normal routine. Report
Yep. This year, I spent an entire month on "alternative exercise" (non-weight bearing). I don't run, but I couldn't do anymore step, walking or Zumba. Luckily it was summer. I did a lot of water aerobics and water running in deep water, bicycle rides (no hills). I was bummed but proud that I kept up my exercise despite the injury (pulled leg muscle and groin. It taught me a good lesson, and I doubt that I would have gotten better and healed if I hadn't done this. Report
I try to be open about new things... Report
After having pain in the lower inside part of my calf that wouldn't resolve even though I was only running 3 days a week I decided to give it a rest. Started putting more time in on my bike and within 3-4 weeks felt good as new. Started running again and all went great. Still riding my bike but not quite as often. So it was an opportunity to remember how fun biking is! Report
Oh let me count the ways. Nineteen years ago I had a herniated disc in my back that was misdiagnosed -- when it ruptured into my spinal column and left me partially paralyzed in both legs. I could no longer run but I still had bike riding and hiking until a few years ago when I tore the meniscus in my knees. I had surgery to repair the left knee but so far so long as I keep exercising the right one seems to be doing fine. Biking became more painful and hiking impossible. This past year from weakness from the previous back surgery and not walking correctly on because of the tear in the meniscus my ankle became so bad that I had surgery on it to repair multiple problems. I still do not bike because it seems to make my knees hurt more but I did go hiking again and although it was a challenge I am working on finding easier trails near me that I can do. My favorite exercise right now is the water program that my physical therapist and I came up with. I also work with a trainer at the local gym. Being partially paralyzed in both legs makes every day a challenge but being able to walk even if it is painful on some days is better than the alternative.
So, hang in there Jen and take it from someone who has learned a lot from having difficult doctors who do not listen. When it comes to pain do not put off seeing a doctor because it could make things worse. This past time leading up to my ankle surgery it took me a year to get the doctor to understand that the orthodics were not working. Report
oh yeah...i had back surgery in May. I had to stop my power walks for over a year before the surgery because I had so much pain in my back. one week after my back surgery, I started walking at the mall - it was cool and there were lots of benches, if I needed them. When I went back to the park to start my power walks, my knees couldn't take it - maybe when my back was fixed, my center of gravity switched and I was walking different? Anyway, I started cycling...and I haven't stopped! I love it. Since it started to get a little cold, I decided to try another power walk. guess what!! NO problem!! I think my thighs have gotten so strong from cycling that my knees are supported better. Now I can walk and cycle. LOVE IT!! Good luck to you!!!!! Report
Yes, had a minor injury due to running two days consecutively when I didn't listen to myself not to do it. So I tried to think outside the exercise box. Here are alternative things I like to do: Biking, walking, rollerblading, hand washing the car, mowing with my manual mower, gardening. It doesn't feel like I am working very hard when I am doing these other forms of exercise as opposed to running but I think I is just different. And good to mix it up to keep the body guessing. Report