Injury and the effects on mental health



  • MsEMsE ✭✭✭
    edited July 2017
    Popping in to wish you all well.  I am hoping it is quiet here because you are all on a roll!  I wanted to give those of you contemplating surgery some hope as I am 11 weeks post-op and went for my first run-walk today.  I am sure there will be setbacks but it is the start of the big comeback.  I had anticipated at least a 12 week wait but being diligent with rehab definitely helps get you there sooner.  Happy running folks.
  • TTTT ✭✭✭
    MsE I am so pleased for you. I am counting down to December which is when I should be running again! I am ignoring the surgery date, I am now seeing that as a blip in the back to running time line. One of my friends is pregnant and due about the same time so it is easy to think it is not far off. 
  • MsEMsE ✭✭✭
    TT - that's a great mindset to adopt.  Very sensible to start thinking along those lines in advance too.  More run-walks for me but I can already feel my foot jamming up a bit so think I will back off a little.  Range of movement and strength are really important in running, and I suspect both are lacking in the ankle and foot still.  Plenty of core, glutes, upper body conditioning work to do in the meantime.
  • MsE: absolutely you want to get range of motion back to normal - I didn't, following an ankle fracture in summer 2015, which led to a pelvic stress fracture in April 2016 on the other side. I've since had more physio on the ankle and I'm now back to ultras without further problems from either of those injuries.
  • I'm getting worried that I'm going to have to stop running soon I keep saying I will but then just end up going again. I've ran for years and had very short breaks due to injury but the last few months I've been running twice a day week days as I don't have time to fit a long run  in and once a day weekends. My shins are painful which I have decided is shin splints but when I run i also get pains running up the inside of my ankles and under my knees feel strange and painful when running and walking after. One knee after a run seems to give way sometimes when I'm walking. I'm not sure what all this is and I'm trying to continue in the hope it will improve as I find running a great relief of stress and anxiety some days are very slightly better than others but still not good any advice would be great  
  • TTTT ✭✭✭
    Sofih1991, I am sorry to read this. I am not a medical but it sounds as if you are overtraining. I know running is great for your mental health, and as I have said before I do take my black dog out for a run to tire him out, but! sometimes you need to take a break. I am not running at the moment but doing lots of strength work, biking and swimming. It all helps. Have you seen a physio??
  • ftm42ftm42 ✭✭✭
    Ouch Sofih1991 - too much training!

    As for me - I've spent 6 weeks now going to the gym 3x a week, doing light weights and core conditioning. Bit of running on treadmill last week [3K].

    Ran a casual 5K DogJog last Sunday - walk / jog, in time with my little terrier's little legs, so not strenuous. Back to the gym rest of the week.

    Then ran my annual Race For Life 5K on Sunday - felt great 27m41secs so an OK time. Gym again as usual earlier in the week. 

    Yesterday - ran 0.5M to gym for an abs session; then ran back to work, but felt great so ran round the park first - 1.7M. So, not far!

    Woke up this morning and as soon as I put my right foot down I had a pain in my kneecap! Feels like I am back to square one, and coupled with a day when I missed out on a few [non-running/work] things that everyone else seemed to be aware of & watching athletes at track where my son trains, just added up to me getting emotional and weepy.

    What is wrong with me? It feels like my method of relaxing is being taken away from me and I feel out of control. Sorry if I'm ranting a bit - but it is an effect on my mental health!! big time!
  • MsEMsE ✭✭✭
    ftm42 - it may be that one session a week for now is all your knees can handle.  Especially if there is gym work going on.  I know it doesn't seem much but gym work can, especially when using weights, add to the strain on joints.  I recall getting over enthusiastic restarting my fitness regime and trying some jumping jacks before I was even run walking (I know, I know).  It was only the day after when my ankle was a bit tender that it occurred to me the downward forces from those were no different to running. So frustrating for you I know.  Loading is such an important part of rehab but only when the body is ready for it and it may be your knees are not up to too much just yet.  When I have to lay off loading, I go for pilates and core work (anything that has me on the ground) and even stay away from yoga as all that standing work can exacerbate a lower leg niggle.  have faith that you will get back to it.  It is just when it catches you unawares that you can suffer a knock back. When you identify what your triggers are and how to avoid them, if you do get caught out by perhaps overdoing it one day, it is less distressing because you realise with hindsight what you could have done to avoid it.  I sometimes feel it is this element of control that is the key thing rather than the injury itself.  When you love running as much as we do, knowing what you can do to get yourself back to it is the main thing.  Patience is then essential but not difficult to bring into the equation.
  • MsEMsE ✭✭✭

    sofih1991 - agree with the others and think you need to take it easy.  Running doubles is only something you should do with care.  While a morning session can warm you up for an evening speed session, simply banging out twice daily runs can mean your body doesn't get the time it needs to recover.  Training is as much about resting and refuelling as the running itself.  As I get older I have to allow more time for the recovery part and pay more attention to hydration and nutrition too.  Is there a reason you feel compelled to run 5 x doubles a week?  I would not try more than two a week and only then when my body is used to high volume.
  • TTTT ✭✭✭
    Thought I would see how everyone is? Had surgery, took much longer than anticipated by the consultant and now in the hands of physio. Still on crutches, four weeks on and likely to be for another four weeks. I will say now I am finding it incredibly hard. My black dog is sitting with me, and I can do little to send him away or tire him out. Any advice???? 
  • TT: Sympathies. Google for the Five Stages of Injury Grief. In my experience (e.g. after breaking my ankle) you can cycle through all of them in a day! Get out into green surroundings when you can - get someone to drive you to a local park is better than nothing. Take plenty of vitamin D - it's important for all sorts of things. Find at least one and preferably more than one thing to do with the time you were spending running. If there's something you can do with a result at the end (take an online course, complete a craft project) that's even better. Do the exercises the physio gives you (many people don't then wonder why they are not progressing). Volunteer at your local parkrun - gets you out on a Saturday morning (or Sunday for juniors) and (I found) is much better than sitting at home being fed up because you can't run. I hope one or more of those is helpful.
  • ftm42ftm42 ✭✭✭
    Aw, TT: Sympathy for you from here too. I agree with Debra's advice. Nothing better than just getting out into the local park for fresh air. I often find that if I'm feeling stressed - just taking a turn round the garden helps. The advice re physio is sound too - I often used to find myself answering the "have you been doing your exercises?" with "er, um, maybe...". :/
  • MsEMsE ✭✭✭
    I think it sounds very exciting that you are on the road to recovery, TT.  Yeah, that bar steward dog has joined you but the ball is in motion for your comeback!  Excellent advice from Debra.  Follow the protocol for addressing the symptoms.  Above all, be kind to yourself.  It was World Mental Health day yesterday and I wrote an article here:
  • MsEMsE ✭✭✭
    PS I did daily pilates and yoga when I was post-surgery.  Pilates was the first thing I could do and when I was out of the cast and into the boot, then I could start doing yoga to begin to weight bear.  I am now just over 5 months post-surgery and doing 90 min runs.  Just break it down into segments and think about what you can achieve now.  
  • MsEMsE ✭✭✭
  • TTTT ✭✭✭
    Thank you both, amazing view MsE. I will get there, I need to work with what I have and have no expectations of being able to do certain things by certain dates just because other people can! 
  • Hello everyone, I realise this is about the impact of injury on mental health but I felt this was likely to be the most interested group of people to tell about what I'm up to.

    I am in the throes of setting up a group of runners who meet weekly (London based by the way). Not your average "running club", it is not a group you'd attend to become a better runner per se, but rather to provide a welcoming and open group where we can feel free to talk about mental health.

    Running (and talking) were the key tools in my own recovery from depression, and I feel that the benefits of opening up whilst moving forwards are so extraordinary that I'd like to help as many people as possible who may suffer with depression, anxiety or other mental ill-health. If you'd like to join me, I am waiting outside Monument Station (Runners Need exit) from 5.45pm every Thursday, ready to run from 6pm. Even if not yourself, if you know anyone who could benefit from a running group whereby you jog at talking pace - please let them know about it. Inta is @runtalkrun, the website is - completely free!
  • MsEMsE ✭✭✭
    Hi JessicaMaryRobson.  Your run sounds like the sort of thing I am doing in my role as an England Athletics Mental Health Ambassador at my club. I came to this thread with a background in psychology and interest in how running can help those with mental health challenges so your post is of much interest to me. I will find your details on social media and share so the word spreads.  Have you connected with a chap called William Pullen? He is a London based psychotherapist who specialises in depression, anxiety and addiction and uses running as therapy.  He has written a book to reach those who cannot afford a therapist and calls it Dynamic Running Therapy.  Sounds like just the thing for you to offer to your group as a guide to how running can work for them?  The tag on twitter for the MHA work is #runandtalk by the way. Just what you said worked for you!
  • Hi. I broke my second toe on my right foot two days ago and I feel so low and really can’t seem to pick myself up. With the whole Xmas thing coming up I had runs scheduled to keep me sane and now I don’t even have that. The docs told me it could take up to 6 weeks before I can try to run again. I feel that people around me don’t understand and keep telling me to get perspective and it’s only a few weeks. Anyway I just wanted to post my frustrations and feelings. Xxx 
  • TTTT ✭✭✭
    Hi Sam, I totally understand, I am 14 weeks post surgery with a return to walk running (max 3 mins running) in January, till two weeks ago it was not certain that I would run again. I read masses about running, and started training my husband, watching him improve has been amazing motivation to do my physio. Can you use a cross trainer or a bike trainer? It is not the same but at least you are at the gym and speaking to people. Keep looking forward, but as my GP said sticking your head under the duvet, as long as you come out again, is perfectly reasonable behaviour.
  • Sam, what you are feeling is totally normal*. Ignore the idiots. You've just lost your stress relief at a stressful time. If you can possibly get out into natural surroundings for a bit each day that might help. Can you get your foot into supportive shoes and walk? If there a park/natural area anywhere near? If so, get out for a walk, even if you actually bundle up and get to the park and then sit and read or listed to music or something. If you're able/allowed to cycle, get out on the bike. If nothing else, drive/get driven somewhere you can be in green surroundings - it does help (or at least it helped me).

    (*Speaking from experience - I broke my ankle a couple of years back and it was hell nor being able to run)

  • Hey TT and Debra. Thank you so much for your responses. So comforting to know there are people out there who understand and don’t patronise. If I here the word perspective again I think I’ll scream. I do understand getting perspective and there are worse things that can happen and are happening but right now in my tiny little world this is rubbish and I’m trying to rationalise. I have literally been moping about all day.....and then I just got up and went out and my friend took me out to the shops to get me out. It helped. I’m trying to keep the nagging voices away and to think in a small matter of weeks I’ll be ok again...although running fitness will be impacted and god knows about weight. I can’t seim or bike yet as it’s still too painful. I’m hoping in a few days I will. I was so geared up to do my usual Xmas morn run as well....just not meant to be this year. Thank you for listening and wishing you well over Xmas too x
  • Sam, any chance you can persuade someone to take you to one of the parkruns that's happening on Christmas Day, so you can volunteer there? Being out among people who will (a) appreciate you ('cos you're volunteering) and (b) sympathise with you (because they understand what it's like not being able to run) could be really helpful. If you're anywhere near Croydon I'll happily make use of you at Lloyd parkrun, and I'm sure that wherever you are, if there's a local parkrun and its holding a Christmas Day run, they would say the same, so if you -can- get there, email them and say you're available but need something you can do sitting down.
  • Hi Debra. I’m afraid I’m not near to Croydon - currently in oxford due to drive back home to Staffordshire this morning (have been holding off going back as felt needed to weather this storm as much as I could before going back to be around people who really won’t understand why I’m being like this.) I think your idea of joining in with a park run is very good and thought provoking.  It also makes me think that I would like to help more with like minded people too. I ran my first marathon this year at the age of 40 and I did it in memory of my Mum who passed away in 2015 and suffered with her own demons - I ran for British heart foundation and MIND. Just something like this triggers such underlying emotions that it really shows how much I rely on running as my mind medicine (I like to call it) and how quickly your thoughts can change. I’m heading back home shortly. Going to take deep breaths and keep rationalising in my head that this is a temporary glitch. Thank you thank you for your support and hope you are fit and well. X
  • Sam, hope the drive is uneventful. Yes, I'm fit and well at the moment (recently ran a 10-marathons-in-10-days challenge), but I've had several injuries in the past (mostly due to non-running accidents) that have stopped me from running for periods of 2-6 months. Volunteering at parkrun really helped me during those times (I'm an Event Director, so I volunteer all the time anyway, and it's great, but when I've been unable to run, it has been extra-important).

    Your broken toe -is- a temporary glitch. Unfortunately that doesn't make it less frustrating at the moment, and particularly given your use of running as mind medicine.

    Other suggestions: is there a book series you would like to re-read, or a TV series to re-watch, or an online course your could do so you have something to concentrate on/can feel at least you are putting the running down-time to good use? How about doing some core strength work or some upper body strength work that you can do sitting down? Or this might be a good time to try meditation?

    Good luck!

  • TTTT ✭✭✭
    Hi Sam, there are many, many like minded people. I am so pleased the DoC and Prince Harry have put mental health at the top of their agenda. Opening up to people often provokes the most unexpected response. However some people just do not understand those of us who have to take our black dogs out for a run, some of my colleagues think sitting on a sofa is good for you. As to weight gain, it will happen, I have put on 10% of my weight, however I was nearly obese when I started running so I will take it off again. When you can get in a pool, which will most likely be the first thing you can do try aqua jogging, sing along to the radio, talk to the lifeguard but keep those legs moving! A running friend bought me the mindfulness book, that has really helped.
  • Thank you so so much for your very informative responses. I appreciate you taking precious time to do that. ...well the big day tomorrow.  I’m still getting panicky about not being able to exercise at all tomorrow but also rationalising and will keep busy too....Wishing you a merry Christmas and thank you for being there.X
  • Hi,  I thought I would post since its now 6 weeks since I broke my 2nd toe.  I had a follow up X-Ray and the results are showing that the bone is partially united - so its not completely healed but is healing - albeit slowly.  I've been told to expect another 6 weeks at least before the bone to heal completely - so you can imagine i'm feeling I've dipped again as the original diagnosis was 6 weeks to heal, and goodness knows when I can start running again. During the past few weeks I have tried to keep positive by cycling, swimming, mountain climber.  I have even bought a new digital piano and started to learn how to play (something I've always thought about doing and not got around to it), just seemed like a good time to do this and of course a distraction.  It is helping but nothing will make me feel complete again as much as being able to get out there and to run.  I wonder how everybody else is getting along?  x

  • TTTT ✭✭✭
    Hi Sam, unfortunately the human body does not always respond in the way we want it to. Learning the piano sounds fantastic, a really good thing to be doing. I have signed up for a 10km in July but the hospital is saying I might be walking it, so I understand completely how frustrated you are. Just keep going, I am on 20 weeks now,can still see improvements but just not quite at the speed I want, or what the consultant was hoping for either. However, with all the spinning (not allowed to cycle outside) and swimming I should be in a good position for a tri next year!!
  • Hi TT - it's almost like you have a goal in your head to work towards...and when you have accepted that then for it to be smashed by the fact you aren't ready when you reach that goal, is so disappointing and frustrating I agree.  20 weeks - is a long time and I admire you for staying strong and positive.  I will keep posting as it is good to know there are like-minded people out there who are not only suffering the physical but also the mental side to injury.  Take care.
Sign In or Register to comment.