Active recovery. Exercises and activities to get back on track.

Following the previous post where I analysed my injury (if you haven’t, you can read it here), I thought to be interesting to go though the rehab period. Talking more in detail on which exercises and activities I did during my recovery.

Personally one of the things I hate the most is when you have some injury and the doctor just tells “yes, just rest and do nothing for two weeks”… it is for sure a cure, but is useless on my opinion. I value much more when I receive some ideas on exercises and alternative activities to do while recovery. And in that our physio is really great.

As mentioned before mine was quite a nasty injury and to heal all the damaged parts the best was to quite completely running and whatever thing which could stress the damaged parts. In this specific case, it meant also no stretching because it would not stop the inflammation. The chosen path together with the physio was really simple:
1. No running, cycling or other activities where I felt pain
2. No stretching
3. Strength and rehab exercises
4. Find some activity which doesn’t hurt and go for it
5. Integrate with D vitamin and arnica pills
Just do that for 2-3 weeks and we’ll see how it is.

That was in mid-late November and now that I’m writing, still I am doing some of this things because what seemed to be an easy injury to be fixed in maximum 3 weeks turned out to be way more severe. But… well let’s go more in depth to those 5 points!
Number 1 and 2 are pretty straight forward: so no painful activities and no stretching!
Number 3 gets more interesting.

Strength and Rehab exercises
Instead of going again to explain where my pain was, how it felt and what was the cause I’ll go straight to the exercises because it was already discussed before.

The focus on strength training at the beginning was only to exercise the calf muscles and upper body. With a mix of:
Heel rise
-Abs exercises
-Back exercises
-Arm exercises
Nothing special, I just did my usual strength session stealing some new exercises from instagram or youtube.

For the Rehab part, it was more of a new thing with exercises which focused on the use of the muscles around the injured parts. With:
Double leg bridge
Isometric heel dig
Hamstring curl
Prone single leg rise
Prone single bent leg rise
Strength and rehab exercises are ok and fine for a while but when you have to do them every day once or twice it starts to be pretty boring. So after a while (approx 3 weeks) when the pain was vanishing and the I felt more comfortable, I started to add some more fun exercises.
For this a great source was the Youtube channel of Trail running School. Here one of the videos, of legs strength exercises which I begun to do about 1 month after I started with rehab.

Naturally at first it was hard and a little painful, but right now I am still doing and enjoying them.

Find some activity which doesn’t hurt
At first my daily activity was more like a walk this thanks to the works on making the maps in south Italy for MOC. walking up and down from the narrow rods and stairs turned out to be quite ok. When back at home then Skimo turned out to be not so bad, I could feel some small pain at first but for 1h- 1h:30′ of skimo it was ok so I kept on that always with easy intensity and a small parenthesis of XC Skiing when in Russia.

Only at the beginning of February in Sardinia I really managed to go for some very easy runs! From there on it was always some skimo and some easy runs with one or two days rest after.

Integrate with D vitamin and arnica pills
Last but not least, the integration with vitamin D and Arnica pills. It was strongly suggested because of winter time, to be honest is really hard to know how much it contributed to my healing. But going back I would still take them they are fine and I didn’t have any stomach problems.

Something that I additionally took was some magnesium from Isostar, that actually was good and I think that it was a good decision. Plus it tastes pretty good.

All this worked out quite well for me. Right now due to COVID-19 all races are over, which is really sad of course… but in a way I see it also as a good opportunity to get back to compete when I’ll be 100% fine without any need to anticipate.