It was the gasp heard around the world. Julie Foucher? Partially torn Achilles? It happens. And it’s distressing and depressing. What should we do when injury forces us from our normally scheduled program?

 When I saw the news about Foucher, I, like many of you, asked myself, “What would I do?” Ultimately, I think that question can only be answered in the moment, although I think it’s completely healthy to consider the options and actions of this particular “what if?” It seems that we have a tendency to fall into one of two extremes—either we completely stop all forms of training or we push ahead, ignoring the injury.

What should we do if disaster, in the form of injury, strikes?

DO…

Consult a doctor—Please. Although there are many well-intentioned, compassionate, intelligent people out there (and one of them might even be a real doctor), don’t take the advice of people on social media. I see this on various forums and social media groups—the post for advice that goes something like this: “Today, I got this really sharp pain in my shoulder. I finished the WOD, but now I can’t raise my arm. What should I do?” And that post is inevitably followed by a number of responses ranging from sensible to absurd. If you are an active individual, you should already have a doctor who understands an active lifestyle.

Follow the recovery plan—Exactly. Just because it doesn’t hurt as much as it did, doesn’t mean you’re healed and ready to jump right back in. Rushing back into training at pre-injury capacity is a very bad plan. Take care of your body. Treat yourself well so that you can avoid injury in the future.

Focus on nutrition—now is the time to really pay attention to your diet. If you have to scale back your training, you’ll be burning fewer calories. Cleaning up your diet while healing can help you continue to be proactive with your health.

Don’t…

Panic—Your CrossFit life should be a marathon, not a sprint. If you are seriously injured and have to take some time off, it will be ok. You will be healthy again. You will return to normal activity in time. Meanwhile, find a healthy way to deal with stress since you can’t get the stress release that comes with an intense WOD—meditate, get a massage, spend time with family or friends, or do something else that you enjoy.

Completely throw in the towel—You injured your ankle, but the rest of your body works fine, right? Don’t just quit training. Don’t AMRAP American Ninja Warrior. Work with your coach to find ways to scale the WOD or substitute exercises that you are able to do. This is a great time to discover new ways to train—swim, bike, do yoga. Find different ways to move your body.

Be a repeat offender—Why did you get hurt? We can’t prevent injury from ever happening, but we can definitely take steps to help fend it off. Rest regularly. Eat well. Listen to your body. Sometimes we ignore important signs of impending injury because we don’t want to scale, slow down or take a break during a WOD. Check your form.

When you are able to return to normal activity, remember how much time you’ve had to take off. Return to your CrossFit WODs slowly. Your long-term health is more important than rushing back too quickly.

Photo Courtesy of Charlotte Foerschler www.charlottefoerschler.com

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