Not every injury heals from time off and others can heal quickly while we continue your climbing training. More specifically, helping you to become aware of your injury patterns, and more specifically your inflammation patterns, allows us to take control of your injury and to prevent further injuries.What makes your injury hurt worse? What leads you to notice it during the day or during your training session? Noticing these hints will help you to begin unraveling your own injury. This article focuses on the little things that might hinder or heal.
Even the most notorious injuries can improve with a blend of guided self-care and meticulous injury awareness.
So why are you reading this? As many are, you are suffering from an injury that just won't go away. The taking point from this is that injuries that are bred with constant irritation and/or continued exacerbation will not heal. Regardless of what your PT or Do does for your injury, or your massage therapist kneads out, unless we remove the cause of the injury, we just cannot get on top of the injury itself. Injuries that fail to heal from time off itself, without any additional help from doctors or therapists is widely seen in athletics. These conditions include the tendonitis, tendinosis and joint hypermobility athletes. Those with bursitis, stress fractures, and/or ligamentous damage may also be in this category, they tend to go away with time off. Special circumstances always exist that change this broad correlation however looking into the common issues you face day to day will shed some light on the subject.
Becoming an Observational Athlete.
Outlining which events and activities need to be avoided and which are healthy and recommended during the healing time will help us to custom target your injury and to keep up your general fitness while we wait for your specific injury to heal. This allows you to return to sport with as little downtime as possible and to return at a level much higher than most who take time off only to re-injure themselves within the month.
A Few Recommendations From Which ALL Athletes Will Benefit:
Make a list of the daily activities that aggravate your injury. Chances are you can avoid these tasks or modify them so that your injury does not go through the constant cycle of inflammation most commonly associated with long term or chronic injuries.
Look for habits or loading of your injury of which you might not be aware. As I write this, my forearms are pressing on the sharp edge of my laptop. This pressure over time can irritate even the most happy wrist/forearm over time. Pay attention to your daily habits and note anything that might use or irritate your injury without causing immediate symptoms. As you heal, we can add back in these activities. In the meantime, if your injury is going the wrong direction and continues to become even more aggravated, we might be missing the daily activitiy that matters most. Be vigilant and keep in mind your sport might not be the only true cause of your injury.
Make sure you are working to improve your self-care habits. It’s ok to forget here and there but a successful athlete heals them-self with results that are earned. This means the more time you put into healing yourself, the quicker you will get there.
Pointing out your flaws and bad habits isn't my goal...
It is my Job.
Every athlete can do their home care better. To some, this is learning to leave it alone and to let it heal. I know, that's easy fro some sofa-lovers and impossibly obtrude for those who cannot sit still. Some are ok with doing light care while others feel the need to beat their injury into a pulp to try to make it go away. Both sides need to change their vision to begin working with their body instead of treating it like an unhappy playground opponent.
Wherever you fall on the spectrum of injury and self-care, we can make it more streamlined and waste less time with better results. As even the best intentioned athletes risk falling to their own bad habits, we start here with simple things that anyone can work on. Regardless of budget, problem solving these habits is what allows us to heal many athletes that have failed conservative care. If your PT, Surgeon or MD has told you that this is the case, don't lose hope. There are MANY athletes suffering from a situation just like you and yes, with perseverance and modification, most of these heal on their own. Climbing adds a whole new level of complexity to the situation.
A few self-care pointers include beginning to working around the area of injury with massage, stretching, or the application of tools.
-Unweight the injury by loosening any muscles that might attach near it (or include it).
-Decrease local swelling at the site of your injury (if present). A rule of thumb is that IF it is tender to the touch, it needs assistance with compressive tape.
-Gentle icing is recommended in areas that are overly swollen or painful.
-In areas with little blood flow, such as the finger region, we recommend immersion baths with mild cold water and a few ice-cubes (which have the opposite effect as icing).
Each athlete is different. Coming from a different genetic makeup, a different lifestyle, and a different training history or athletic base. There is no one treatment plan that works for everyone. Instead we form individualized treatment plans based on where you are now and our goals for the weeks to come. If you are lost, I offer guided medical-coaching to ensure you are making the most of your recovery time.
For those who need aid, I am available for personalized medical self-care aid. Beginners packages start at $120 for the first month which includes up to 3 emails/calls per week to ensure you are on track to achieve your healthcare goals. For those who already are on a self-made plan, it might entail weekly email guidance based on your unique situation/injury which runs at $30 for a 7-day plan. This includes 2 emails per week to ensure you are on track and understand your homework/recommended changes.
Based on where you are on your inflammation journey, your home-care usually starts with inflammation control, progresses to strengthening the surrounding regions while unweighting the injury, and then blends in endurance and strengthening of the injured tissues when they are ready. Fingerboard is usually the last step in this program (and usually the first step in those who need our help).