How to Rest & Recover from an Injury (Not?)

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Hello! I’ve been MIA for the past few days, huh? Not really, though: one person’s been seeing a lot of me, and that’s my chiropractor.

That place will never go out of business, you know, as long as I continue proudly representing team Running on Sprained Ankles in the weeks and months to come!

So in the 10 days since Rock’n’Roll San Jose, I’ve been recovering from an ankle injury.

[A photo of my feet/ ankles from two days ago – You’re Welcome! – you can still see the swelling on the left. If you look close enough. Which you totally don’t have to. In fact, if you do, that’d be weird. OK, stop now.]

A li’l back story, if you’re just stumbling here out of nowhere, I sprained my ankle a little over a month ago while running on a flat, even surface. Then, like any perfectly normal person, I ran four races in the next four weeks: 18 miles at Ragnar a week post-injury, an olympic-distance triathlon a week after that, a sprint-distance triathlon the week after that, and wrapped it all up very nicely with the above-mentioned half marathon.

My chiropractor kept laughing and laughing….

[He’s probably thinking, Why aren’t there more crazies out there like her, my early retirement fund says thanks!]

But he also kept my ankle in decent shape and I was able to do these races with all my usual joy, if at times with a slight limp.

Ankle’s on the mend now, though all this running through injury nonsense may have caused a flare-up in the pesky plantar fasciitis (click here for some exercises that can help you with that) and I am still sorta grounded from running. Gah.

So what am I doing instead?

1. Getting deep-tissue massages weekly
Silly… on the ankle, and at the chiropractor – not the spa. And it’s pret-ty darn painful. Ah, it hurts like hell! But it helps flush out the fluid that causes swelling and speeds up heeling. So there.

2. Getting electrocuted on a weekly basis
Also fun! This one, at least, doesn’t hurt – but it really feels funny.

I believe the correct term for the procedure is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulaton and it’s done by this machine:The cables have sticky pads on them that Doc hooks up to my ankle/ feet, wraps with ice packs and lets it rip, basically.

It kind of looks like this:Except this is my own little electro-nerve-stimulator machine — and yes, indeed, I bought one.

3. Make that daily electrocution
One day, I jokingly told Dr. Tomo that I wish I could take his big ol’ electric machine home with me and stay hooked up to it all day. But he said, they actually make and sell these things — TENS units, they’re called – for at-home use!

Oh, you mean like those Compex machines that cost five hundred bigs ones or more? I asked
No, no, they’re about $100, and they’re very good! he replied.
And I said… Oh, OK, you probably don’t want to hear the entire conversation.

In short: I went to http://www.tensunitreviews.net, looked through the list of gadgets, picked what I thought was the most decently priced top-rated one, and voila:

It is the best thing ever! It’s called HealthmateForever, I got it off Amazon for just around $100 with shipping, and yes, I do believe it will be my best health friend forever!

It’s USB-rechargeable (or you can use an electric power outlet if you don’t have a laptop anywhere near you… if that is at all possible?), and you can stick it to any muscle or pain point on your body while you watch TV, read a book, relax… blog. Of course, I’m using it right now.

I’ve been mostly treating my ankle and foot/ heel, but also tried it on my quads and calves after the See Jane Run Tri (and before the San Jose RnR the next day). The muscles there are obviously larger, and it was so weird to watch them contract against my own will. But hey: a free deep-tissue massage daily, can’t complain!

Other than that, I’ve been taking it easy and not running (much), per doctor’s orders:

I went on a short and easy bike ride a few days after RnR:Then swam some laps in the pool:A nice (and long) ride on Saturday, 47 miles, Uvas loop, very pretty.Followed by a nice, leisurely ride with friends on Sunday:And later that day… Doc had said I could run two miles! But he didn’t specify how fast, so:That’s kinda fast for me… OK, it’s the fastest I could go. And I kept thinking how I was running an entire minute per mile slower than Mirinda Carfrae ran all 26.2 miles of the marathon to win the Ironman World Championship in Kona this year. Wow! And as Rinny gets crowned champion, what do I get? A swollen ankle.

The next day: a short ride and another two miles, and I was feeling that pain in the heel again. Awesome!Today, Dr. Tomo clarified: “When I said you could run two miles, I meant easy.” And he noticed my heel is red and swollen, the cause: yet unknown. I will investigate!

Meanwhile, it’s back to nightly electrocuting and no running until the weekend, when I can try another two or three miles, easy.

Until then, I must live vicariously through you, occasional blog reader! So how has your running been lately? Tell me a glorious story of a recent rave run?

11 thoughts on “How to Rest & Recover from an Injury (Not?)

  • February 8, 2016 at 9:17 am
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    I have had doubts about the effectiveness of TENS units, especially after reading the many conflicting reviews about them. Glad it worked for you :)

    Reply
  • December 19, 2015 at 11:20 am
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    I have a TENS and I use it for 3 years already. It works very well for me. I take it in my luggage every time I travel.
    Jennifer recently posted…Tens Unit Side EffectsMy Profile

    Reply
  • June 27, 2014 at 10:45 am
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    I used a tens unit for over 10 years and there is nothing i would recommend more for recovery and pain management. I wish there was more effort from the media to spread this technology for drug free pain management.

    Reply
  • November 16, 2013 at 12:56 am
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    You’d actually would have found a better deal if you used the website http://www.pulsemassagers.com/. There is currently a much cheaper model of TENS Units like the PL-009 sold by truMedic or the TENS 7000 by Roscoe Medical. The HealthmateForever models like the Pro-8AB, or Pro-8IS often have a electrical current problem.

    Reply
  • November 1, 2013 at 1:28 pm
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    Glad to hear that TENS is working for everyone. I’m a big believer of this and have heard close friends who swears by them.

    Reply
  • October 26, 2013 at 8:36 pm
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    I had a tens machine for labour, it was great!! Big fan! Glad you’re healing!

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    • October 23, 2013 at 9:36 am
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      I LOVE mine! Such a tiny little thing, but SO good!

      Reply
  • October 16, 2013 at 11:06 pm
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    My PT @Kaiser is getting me a TENs unit for home use too, for my back! Yay!

    Reply
    • October 23, 2013 at 9:37 am
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      Let me know what you get and how you like it! The only drawback to these things right now is that the sticky pads seem to wear out quickly, and extra ones – although you can order them easily – are kind of pricey. (Or I’m too cheap! Ha!)

      Reply
      • October 23, 2013 at 9:43 am
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        They gave me the set of pads that they’ve been using on me at PT (they saved the set w/my name on it to use each time I went in) and it’s supposed to come with a set, so I have at least one back=up set, which is nice. Hoping it comes soon!

        Reply

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