Recovery from Injury

Andy Running

In 2017, I tore my Achilles’ tendon for the second time. I was training for the Maccabiah Games in squash, playing in a preparation tournament. It was a devastating injury. Not only did I rupture my Achilles’ tendon, I also broke my heel bone. The first surgeon (who I did not use) told me he did not think I would walk again. I was scared. My second surgeon, who ultimately operated on me, placed me on 40 days of bedrest. (See my blog, Time to Open the Shades.)

May 2019, I ran for the first time since my injury. It had been more than two years since I last ran. I was so happy and relieved. I never appreciated a run as much in my life.

I have since known a number of people who have endured terrible injuries requiring bed rest. I wanted to share my ideas on how to best recover.

Here are my beliefs of the six key principles:

  • Positive Attitude
  • Persistent Patience
  • Effective Effort
  • Loyal Love
  • Fervent Faith
  • Enjoy the New Slow

Positive Attitude
You need a positive attitude. My friend Jay told me that “there is a blessing in every journey”. Look for the blessing. Accept this temporary tragedy and believe you will heal and recover.

Persistent Patience
Patience is crucial. Each and every day. You may not be able to walk, shower, or even dress. This vulnerability may be difficult to accept. Being dependent on others may be hard to handle. Be patient and accept your short-term circumstances.

Effective Effort
Follow the medical advice. Follow your physical therapy. Do what you are told. Not more. Not less. For those that try to do too much, there is real risk of reinjury or poor recovery. Your injury and surgery needs time to heal and seal. You want to avoid infection.

On the other hand, some people simply do too little. Not enough exercise or physical therapy. This doesn’t allow the body to properly recover and strengthen.

Finally, recovering from injury is not a time for junk food and alcohol. Your compromised body state requires careful consideration.

Loyal Love
You will really benefit from the love of family and friends. I write loyal love because you may discover who among your family and friends is truly loyal and demonstrates their love during difficult circumstances. Sometimes, you may learn unfortunate truths during dark times.

Fervent Faith
Being injured and having major surgery really requires faith. Faith in your medical team. Faith in your family and friends and colleagues to support you during your recovery. Faith in yourself. You will suffer. You may have deep and dark thoughts in the depths of the initial pain and suffering. But you will rise and soar from your suffering. You need to have faith in God or the universe to find the blessing in this unexpected life journey.

Enjoy the New Slow
While you will have to slow down and simplify during your recovery period, you find a surprising sensation of learning to love the new slow. Initially, you may resist and fight the necessity of slowing down. After a while, you may learn to enjoy the new rhythm of going more slowly and deliberately enjoying fewer activities – but really enjoying them even more. Slowing down may allow you to savor more. Enjoy the unexpected pleasure of the pause!