Finding Support on the Long Road of Running Injury Recovery
Posted by Jenn F. on Tuesday, July 29th, 2014
We regularly tell our patients at The Center for Podiatric Care & Sports Medicine that running injury recovery is as much a mental journey as a physical feat. Often, the same people come back to us more than once — not because treatment failed, but because their patience failed. “I pushed myself, even though I knew I shouldn’t have,” they tell us. Maybe friends were visiting from out of town, or an important race was coming up; there is always a reason to want to do more, rather than taking the slow road of recovery. We guide patients through an active recovery, so there is no loss in athleticism or skill. Even so, many people are mentally unprepared for the challenges ahead. Finding support while recovering from a running overuse injury is crucial.
Teammates, Friends & Family Support
A survey of NCAA Division I athletes found that teammates and family members were the best source of support among injured players. The survey found:
“An athlete’s support system can affect injury rehabilitation. Strong social support from family, trainers, coaches, and teammates was reported among all surveyed athletes. Athletes agreed that talking to other athletes who had successfully recovered from their injuries helped keep them positive throughout recovery. The encouragement, support, and understanding from others may help an athlete cope with injury.”
Family and friends could also be a source of frustration and anger if they are not understanding or sympathetic, so it’s important to discuss your limitations with everyone and let them know your expectations for their participation in your support as you recover.
Drawing Sources of Inspiration
In an article for the UK Guardian, marathon runner Annie Rice shares her story of enduring long-term rehabilitation for a knee injury. “I have been keeping a journal, talking about my feelings and crying – a lot. It all helps with the recovery. Being a runner who is unable to run is cruel. To non-runners, this probably sounds melodramatic, but I feel as if I have been banned from doing the things I love most about life,” she shared. “I find great comfort in other people’s stories about their own injuries. I am lifted by my rehab sessions at the Isokinetic clinic, where many of my fellow patients are on longer recovery paths than I. I have also taken my turn offering support to runners who are suffering similar setbacks,” she added.
Running Support Groups in NYC
If you were to search “running support group” online, you’d find a lot of discussion about the desire for such a thing and the fact that there are not many promising groups in existence. MeetUp.com lists a group called “Injured Runners Unite” in NYC with 42 members and four previous meetings that were “small, but committed.” Another place to seek support is Susan Nobel’s Repetitive Strain Injury support group at Mt. Sinai Hospital. These groups combine some stretching and rehabilitation exercises with encouraging talks and outdoor activities.
Working with a Sports Medicine Professional
Often runners find it helpful to work one-on-one with a knowledgeable professional. Our NY sports medicine doctors are not just medical professionals trained in surgery and physical therapy; we are supportive friends as well. We understand the challenges you face and work hard to help you overcome struggles you may have using crutches or finding it in yourself to just “take it easy” for a while. We’re here for you whenever you need us, even if you want to just give us a call to discuss how you’re feeling — mentally and emotionally — on a particular day. We are committed to your full recovery! So book an appointment with one of our sports medicine doctors online today.
If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.