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Staying on Track When You're Hurt

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I don't know about you, but for me, this year has not gone according to plan, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I've had a lot of great things happen this year, but I've also had what I think is more than my fair share of injuries, which most have been pretty random. As I reflect on the year so far and my current situation, I am reminded of something that John Lennon once said: “Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.” The more I reflect on this year, the more I find this to be such a true statement. Although, I know I’m not the only one that has found themself with an injury this year, as I have seen numerous Message Board posts on SparkPeople about members having various injuries and wondering how they can continue their healthy lifestyle plan with the injury.

My latest injury is a torn ligament and broken bone in one of my fingers, which makes everything harder to do one handed, including typing. I also had to have surgery to repair the damage, and that definitely was not in any of my plans for this year. Because of how bad the injury was, I did have to skip out on some workouts, along with alter my original workout schedule, but I didn’t let it get me down or distract me from keeping my healthy habits and reaching my other goals. When injuries happen, it can be really easy to fall in the trap of the “all-or-nothing approach,” but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Below are some tips that I find helpful (and hopefully you will too!) for staying on track with my health and goals, especially for times like now, when I have some form of injury.

Check with your doctor and ask for suggestions based on your injury AND your health history.

Your doctor should be able to tell you whether you can exercise or not, or if there are any limitations with your current situation/injury. If they don’t offer suggestions, ask them. Your doctor should be able to give you some form of suggestions, whether there are things you should do or not do. Either way, it is always a good idea to check with your doctor to be sure you don’t cause more injuries.

Make a new fitness plan or adjust your current plan as needed.

This is an important step because it can set you up for success or failure, and I know we all want to succeed. Make a new fitness plan for yourself or make some adjustments to the plan you were on before the injury. If you currently have your goals set to do cardio for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, but your injury doesn’t allow for that type of goal, change it to something that is more attainable for your current situation. If you are not able to do cardio exercises, but are able to do strength exercises, then set up a plan that will allow you to do that.

If you are not able to exercise, focus more on the nutrition part of your plan.

This is something that I find very helpful in staying on track with my health goals when I have an injury and can’t exercise. This not only makes me more mindful of what I am eating, but I also adjust my calories to my current physical needs. If I am not exercising at all, I adjust my fitness goals to reflect that, which will then make the program recalculate my nutritional needs. With this idea in mind, try aiming for eating more fruits and veggies, drinking more water, or whatever parts of your nutrition plan that you may have been having trouble with. While doing this, you may find a better balance in your nutrition, which will not only help with the healing process, but will also help you when you are fully recovered from your injury.

Focus on the positives.

I know this one is easier said than done. However, focusing on the positives will help you overall, but I think it specifically helps me from giving up on my goals. The last few weeks have been hard on me, but I remind myself of at least a few positive things each day. While there were workouts missed, I did fantastic with my nutrition plan. Patting yourself on the back for passing up something that wasn’t nutritionally wise is a great thing to do (I do this injured or not). Allow yourself to celebrate the small (and big) things that are positives and I’m sure you will find yourself sticking to your goals more often than not.

Have you had any injuries happen this year? If so, how did you handle them when it came to staying on track with your health goals? Do you have any other advice to offer?

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RAZZOOZLE 11/25/2020
thank you Report
_CYNDY55_ 8/31/2020
Thanks Report
Thank you, I needed this. Going to have surgery on July 17 to repair rotator cuff on right shoulder Report
SUGARSMOM2 4/13/2020
good reading all these tips and enjoy reading all your comments. I will try to do many of the things that have worked for many of you. as always just getting by. Report
I was taught while I was at the Mayo Clinic to have a Plan B in place at all times. Yes, I do have a Plan B ready to go in case I get sick or have surgery. Then I know exactly what needs to be done with my eating and my exercising. It's a wonderful time to get a Plan B if you don't have one as it will only BENEFIT you!!!!! Blessings! Report
USMAWIFE 2/29/2020
thank you Report
It hard to stay on track when there is something wrong physically. I either over eat or don't eat at all. Depends on what is wrong Report
Just this month I had a fall which injured my shoulder and have a broken finger. Strength exercises are out for awhile for my arms, but doing what I can for exercise. Report
Good tips! Report
Been very lucky so far. No injuries to speak of Report
All good ideas Report
thanks Report
Thanks Report
Yummy Report
Interesting! Report
very helpful post thank you Report
Thank you for sharing. I will be having a knee replaced at the end of the this month and this article gave me some ideas. I can continue my goals even if I have to change them slightly while I heal. Again, thanks. Report
Great article which I really needed. Had some surgery done on my knee in June and was almost healed and finished PT when I fell the first of September and split the thing wide open. Needed 12 stitches. So I'm back to PT for that. After that and I'm still trying to find out what I had. It was thought to be lyme disease but doctor is saying no. So I'm back to square one and slowly getting back to working out. Report
This is a great post and I really appreciate it. As someone who deals with chronic pain I've learned recently that I shouldn't assume my doctor knows exactly how I feel. If you hurt so much that the thought of exercise is appalling, talk to your doctor. Some doctors don't automatically think being in pain = no exercising thus they tell their patients to get more exercise. Well, if you point out you need help with the pain to be able to exercise, then your doctor may be able to help you and the end goal is to have your exercise benefit you enough to reduce your pain levels due to increased fitness and weight loss. Report
I am following "Plan B" right now. I had foot surgery 1 1/2 weeks ago (bunionectomy/cyst). I cannot walk on my foot for six weeks. I knew my husband would take good care of me, but I also knew my husband would not be making nutritious foods or going to the grocery store for the foods I like to eat. He loves to eat out or buy take-out, mainly consisting of pizza, cheese steaks, french fries - you get the picture? I was worried about gaining weight and did not want to eat junkfood while my body was trying to heal. I started by ordering Nutrisystem. I then bought a lot of frozen veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, and squash). I loaded the fridge with oranges, apples, clementines, light yogurt, veggie dogs and veggie burgers. I also bought single serving fruits and tunafish. And, I rented a Knee Scooter. The scooter has given me the freedom to move around without stepping on my foot - it's awesome! After about 2 days into my recovery period I reached out to the Chair Exercise Team. They gave me links to chair exercises. I ordered a chair exercise DVD. I also found SparkPeople Upper, Lower, and Core exercise videos that I could do without using my foot. I scheduled them in my tracker. They have been a great blessing.

I have lost 8.5 pounds in 2 weeks while recovering from foot surgery! It is proving to be quite a positive experience. I now wake up at 7:10 AM and do my exercise routine. It's the same time I am used to going out for my morning run, so it will keep me on my schedule. And, my husband gets to have his chik filet, while I eat a Nutrisystem meal with my fruit and veggies! Interestingly enough, the Nutrisystem plan really has helped me on focusing on portion size. While I was eating healthy foods most of the time before this experience, I now have come to realize I was eating too much.

I cannot submit this without mentioning how wonderful all my SparkFriends have been! They have been very supportive through this whole experience. As I am "stuck" at home, they have prevented me from feeling alone and isolated. They totally ROCK! Report
Appreciate the thoughtful, positive, "Plan B" approach. Like someone else who commented before me, I, too, thought this could be about emotional hurt - that can get in the way for (many) people, too, right? Report
Just had surgery on my right ear today so I won't be able to work out at the usual pace for about 2 weeks. I do feel great today even after surgery that started late at 1:30pm. Will try to walk soon and hope to get back to work soon. Report
Great blog! Just what I needed to read. I sprained my ankle 3 weeks ago & it's been a struggle especially in my own head cause I keep thinking I should be able to do more Report
I broke my foot a month and half ago and the healing process is not going well. I was use to going to Zumba classes and doing a lot of cardio. Because I can't move my toes yoga is out of the question. My only source od exercise now is a stationary bike and doing sit ups. Does anyone have any other suggestions for me? Report
Great article and very timely. I have an injured ankle which I'll have operated on mid-November. I'll have to keep weight off of it for 15 days, with total healing time of 10-12 weeks. I will miss my walk at home DVD's during part of this time and I don't want to gain weight. I know I'll have to really watch my nutrition and be careful what I'm eating during this time, which I am planning out for that period of time so my husband won't rely on takeout or fattening foods. But I really want to keep exercising and keep up ST. I just need to figure out a plan for that. My lower body and right leg will most likely get enough carrying the load, and I'll begin physical therapy on the left ankle at some point after a couple of weeks. Thank you so much for the tips and for this article. It has helped me alot for planning, and for the encouragement that there is plenty I can still concentrate on. Report
I broke my toe last night! Luckily is just the little toe and is not too painful, but I'm already thinking about how I can do modified workouts while it heals. I will probably do lots of upper body and abdominal work this week. Report
This was very timely for me as well. I have been struggling with plantar fasciatis since August and have been very good at doing what I can during this time. However, last week I had to have a mole removed on my little toe. This hurt 10 times worse than the PF. I got back on the horse today after reading this post with 30 minutes of upper body strengthening and a 15 minute stretching video. Even though this is not nearly what I would be doing normally, it felt great to be moving and I know that when the stitches are removed next week, I will not have gotten out of the habit as I will do what I can until then without risking harm to my foot! Thank you SP AGAIN! Report
Thank you for posting this! I'm struggling with a sore back at the moment, which has left me frustrated and unable to walk comfortably, never mind exercise. It's so good to know that there are people experiencing the same things! I hope your hand recovers soon! Report
I had a severe ankle sprain back in August. My foot was swollen and I was unable to walk on it for a week. I promptly came up with a routine that did not require me to stand or jump around so I did Pilates and Yoga. I also kept up with my strength training. As I slowly recovered I began to resume my fitness routine held off on the treadmill until recently.

Now I'm fine but wear an ankle brace during my workouts to keep it stable. I probably don't need it but it reminds me to be safe Report
Good advice. Broke my foot a couple months ago and wondered how I was going to maintain my momentum. I worked on nutrition mostly, keeping my weight down. Even if I wasn't losing, I sure wasn't going to gain. Turned out to be a confidence boost because I could maintain and my self imposed plateau showed me that I can do this my whole life regardless of what happens! Report
I have had an injury actually. I sprained my ankle, but it healed right up after a few days of wearing a homemade cast. :) Report
Thanks for the hints. I have struggled this year with capsulitis in my hip to due a workout injury and last Sunday I tore my calf muscle running a half-marathon. The thing that surprised me most is the people around me who say I should stop exercising at all. The funny part is that I love the way I feel after a workout or run. I am now working with a trainer and physical therapist to correct my functional issues and can't wait to get back to exercising. I am more determined now that ever to stay strong. Report
I had a "neck strain" this past August and ended up at the ER with unbearable pain. All the docs told me I either "did something to it, or slept wrong!" Anyway, I ended up doing pt for 4 weeks and really wasn't pain free until after 7 weeks! I was unable to do anything during that time, even when walking, I felt every step straight up my spine. I was able to maintain during that time and still have spasms on occasion, but I'm trying to get back to exercise gradually, joining a yoga class. I hope to get back to lifting soon! Report
Not this year, but last year I tore one of my ankle tendons to shreds. I had to have surgery (Oct 15, 2010) to fix it. Before the surgery and even before the full diagnosis I had to change my workout routine. Instead of walking or dancing or Tae Bo I sat on my stability ball and "walked" or "danced" while seated.

Since the surgery it has taken about a year but I am now able to do even more than I did before. I had to take it slow even after my physical therapy ended, but I'm feeling better than ever now. I'm walking with Leslie Sansone dvd's again and getting ready to try Tae Bo again. Report
Gee! I could have been using this info for the last 8 months! Thanks for the inspiration! I needed it. Report
When I first saw this heading, I thought it was going to be a blog about "emotionally hurting"! Guess that shows you where my head (and heart) are at these days!! Never the less, good blog! Report
My arthritic neck threw a MAJOR tantrum starting in April and May. Because I couldn't move as much as I had been, I lost ground and gained. Argggh! It has been a journey finding out what I can do. I know that ceasing to move will cause me more pain, so, modify, modify. I also began to find out what food and supplements will aide in my pain control. Amazing what you can do. It is frustrating, but so is life sometimes. Report
I tore my rotator cuff, quite bad, doing pull ups at the pool. It is unrepairable, so now in the aquafit class, I do all of the exercises except the pull ups. I can swim a bit, as it's fairly easy to move my shoulder and arm in the water. I also have O.A. severely, but can do nearly anything in the water. I try to do a bit of yoga, but I have a problem getting on my knees, so..I do ride my exercise bike, as well. The pool is the best though. Report
I started aquafit a little over two years ago BECAUSE my back pain was so bad I couldn't walk much further than to the car. After a few months, I added swimming laps. I had to work through shoulder pain, so I dropped the butterfly and stuck with breaststroke and front crawl. My back, shoulders, knees and ankles will flair up and pain me awful if I don't focus. Slow and steady, right? I use the water and my walking sticks as my friends. Together, we keep putting on foot in front of the other. I started stationary biking last week. It's wrecking my knee. Not while I am on it, but afterwards, later in the day. It's a recumbent bike and it's challenging. I have to remained focused on my leg movement while I'm on it. I don't know if the recumbent-style will be my friend or not. But it's one pedal at a time. Keep positive. Just because you change your exercise to suit your pain, doesn't take away from the fact that YOU ARE EXERCISING! That's more than most people can say. Thanks for listening. Report
I don't have injuries, but I have health complications from cancer that keep me from doing things such as walking. My cancer has spread to my bones, which causes pain, so I do low impact stuff such as yoga or tai chi. I also struggle with fatigue, since I have been on chemo for over a year and a half now. Report
I'm having a hard time getting or staying on track, my husband just died last month and I just can not get it in my head were it belongs to restart my journey to a healthier lifestyle. So no physial injury but sometimes mental ones can be just as hard to over come. Report
I broke my foot this summer which ended my walking workout. I used stretching and floor exercise to make it through till my doctor said I had healed enough to begin walking again. I started back slowly and am back on track now! Report
Thank you for this blog. I am currently struggling with knee problems. I have seen doctors and I am not getting much help. It seems that when they see a 49 yr old woman come in that looks overweight (even though I have lost over 200 lbs) they just say that I won't be able to do much anymore. I refuse to accept that and I am looking for a different doctor. Report
funny but I just blogged about this today! I am searching for cardio workouts that I can do with an injured foot. As I have found so much support and info on spark in the past, I just have to continue to search! Report
Great Blog! I love to exercise, but am fighting having knee replacements. So adjusting the exercising has been a daily challenge. I am blessed that I live in an area where I can use the pool almost daily and thank heavens for Spark People Videos. I can take my computer with me where ever I go and find an exercise program that works for me. Report
This is inspiriation for my today. I have cellulitis and am unable to do any fitness walking right now. It's nice to see what others in a similar situation have to say! Report
I tore my ACL (in my knee) and several muscles...jumping off a pick up truck...didn't we do that as kids all the time? I also fractured my tibia, then proceeded to get a blood clot. Since that was not my 1st clot I had to have a filter put in and I am on blood thinners forever! With all of that going on I will admit exercise went by the wayside and somedays so did healthy eating. Fortunately, I am back to good health, my eating is back on track and exercising regularily again. One thing I realized is you may be hurting a ton from your injury but at least try to stay on track with your eating then you only need to add back the exercise as you get better. Sometimes we need a Plan C..lol Report
I had to have surgery in May for a completely torn Achilles tendon. I had to spend the summer on crutches in a cast, then boot, then brace. I found using the seated exercises helpful- at least it gave me SOME exercise. Report
Stress fracture on my left foot form my Half Marathon on Saturday. So much for cardio except swimming (and I don't have any pool access), let alone my 10K Halloween race, etc, etc. Sigh... Report
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