Working Around an Injury

A few weeks ago, I was playing pickup soccer on a Saturday with a group of people of all ages and abilities.  I was having fun and playing well for someone who doesn’t touch a soccer ball very often. I have made playing soccer more throughout the year a goal and a priority for me in 2019.  


Injuries plague all people who play sports or workout on a regular basis and they are unavoidable. Unless you don’t play.  They can be identified as acute pain or strains in the body that limit our ability to move naturally or with full range of motion.  Often, they occur when we least expect it and become a huge deterrent from daily activity and especially working out.


During the pick-up soccer game, unfortunately, I rolled my ankle outward as I was stepped on by another player.  Things like this were normal for me in my “soccer days,” so I continued to play. It was an immediately painful event that quickly went away and I thought nothing of it.  While playing later on, I felt it give a little again. I wanted to keep playing but I also had to tell myself “you need to be able to walk later to take care of kids, go to work, take care of anything at home that needs to be done,” so I relaxed and took a step back in the game.  I didn’t stop like I probably should have. Years prior something like this would not have slowed me down.


At the end of the game I felt great, a little discomfort from my ankle but nothing that seemed to be a major issue.  Little did I know that 1 hour later when I cooled down and had dinner with my family that I would realize my ankle wasn’t so good AND my left adductor was also strained.  My body did such a good job of masking what was going on that I could to play pain free…something I had taught myself years ago when I played injured for seasons at a time.


This strain and pain plagued me for weeks after at the gym during workouts and I’ve been incredibly frustrated because of it.  It has felt like a significant setback because I have been unable to do all of the movements I’ve been training to get good at. BUT I didn’t allow it to actually hinder my progress.  As a coach, I tell everyone we can scale and modify to make a workout available to everyone. I needed to apply the same thought process to my own training.


I took a couple days to recoup from my injury and limited movements with running, jumping, squatting or lunging, but I continued to workout. I focused on the movements I could do pain free and modified the movements that would cause more damage or would slow down my rehabilitation progress.  I did this about a week and started to re-assess what I would be able to do. I tested out squatting again, I was ok if I didn’t travel all of the way to the bottom of my squat. I subbed inbox squats or I limited range of motion for all workouts and I adjusted to a power position on the olympic lifts.  All lunges were still completely out.


A couple weeks later my ankle felt better, but my adductor was still strained and only felt ok if i got really warm.  I continued to modify or scale as needed. I think there was one week where I wasn’t able to any of the workouts as they were intended due to my injury and I was ok with it because I wanted to get better sooner rather than push sooner.  Most strains will feel better in 2-3 weeks but often take 6-9 weeks to completely heal.  I’m cautious, but still getting intense workouts.I know I need to take a step back when the WOD, as programmed, could potentially extend my recovery time.


How do you handle injuries or setbacks in training?  Do you still play and enjoy sports? I do, love them but need to know I’m not bulletproof.  Did you know you can come into any class we offer with an injury and we can modify the workout or help you figure out how to recover from whatever you are going through?  No matter how diligent we are with our movement or coaching, injury is always a risk and we are bound to feel some sort of niggle. Remember, our coaches are here to support you and will have plenty of options to modify a workout for you that day – just let us know what is going on!  


Carl Balentyne

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