Today a friend called while she was on her morning walk and asked how things were going with the recovery. I mentioned that I’m pretty limited right now and am on crutches whenever I am up. She responded, “Pfft. Crutches. I played frisbee while I was on crutches.” First of all, she was on crutches for a foot injury, and not for a hip labral injury. NOT the same thing. Second of all, we seem to think that the answer to doing anything successfully is to go faster, and do more.
Let’s discuss this attitude, shall we? It’s everywhere. I don’t need to call in when I’m sick, because I’ll push through it, because I’m tough. Or, I’ve just had a baby, but I’m going to immediately jump back into my regular routine, because I’m not going to let anything get me down. It’s finding the way to do all the things I need/want to do, despite whatever injury I have, because letting injuries hold you back is what weak people do.
Maybe this is an attitude that has never affected you, but it is certainly one that I have had to deal with. Find a way around or through it. And you know what you get? Admiration. People are impressed and approving when you are tough and do hard things during recovery.
However, what is the cost?
We think we’re tough, because we go to work, even though we’re sick. Yet, we’re not that effective, we make our own illness last longer that it might otherwise, and we expose others to illness as well.
As a PT, I regularly see people years after an injury or surgery who tell me about the fact that they went right back to work or got right back into activity, but they think they impeded healing and they are still dealing with issues years later and wished they would have been more patient at the time.
Obviously, this is not a comprehensive look at this problem, just a moment to bring up the idea that we act as though pushing hard is THE way to go, and it’s not always. I can tell you that with my hips over the next year, I am already very frustrated with all the things that I am limited in doing, but I am dedicated to getting the best result for my hips. And that means NOT pushing constantly to do the most things. It means gradually adding and being consistent about the activities and exercises that are appropriate for each stage of healing, but not trying to maximize all the possible activities. So, no. You will not catch me out trying to play frisbee on my crutches. I’m working on consistently doing my ankle pumps, deep breathing, isometrics (I can talk more about that later, but I did get an A+ on those from my PT; unlike the C- I got for my walking technique…). I just got to start a couple of simple hands and knees exercises. They are difficult to stay consistent doing them because they seem so small and insignificant, but those are the things that will get me to the best outcome in the long run.