What to Do When You’re Injured (Spoiler: Don’t Just Sit Around)

What to Do When You’re Injured (Spoiler: Don’t Just Sit Around)

Being sidelined is life sucking.

Whether we’re unable to perform our sport, or work at our jobs, or walk to the refrigerator, any injury is a setback.

I remember when I tore my knee for the second time, my world was tantamount to the start of the Battle of Helms Deep. Or, at least that’s what I made it out to be through my heightened emotions and perception.

After my coach lectured me on being a total drama queen, I quickly learned when injured, it’s best to make lemonade out of lemons.


Because the injury has already happened, and it just is. 

So what can we do to avoid a woe-is-me mindset? Let’s dive in:

1.) Focus on what you can do.

Chances are, your injury is on one extremity of the body: upper or lower. If you’re suffering a knee or ankle injury, instead of being bitter you can’t grow your booty, or squat ass to grass, why not focus on how huge your biceps can be? Or work toward a stronger pull up?

Or, I don’t know…enter into an arm wrestling competition.

To that end, there are a plethora of ways to train around injury. I wrote an extensive article on knee injuries here and what to do when handicapped. Put simply, most knee flexion exercises are off limits, but everything else (hip extension, hip flexion, upper pushing and pulling, and carries could be fair game). Just be sure to check in with your pain levels. If something hurts, don’t do it.

As far as conditioning for a lower body injury, perhaps you can work toward 85-90% of your maximum heart rate for the demands of your sport by crushing battling ropes. Or doing a medicine ball circuit. Or swimming laps.

The good news is there will always be things to do, so focus on those. Just run them by the doc first.

2.) Nurture your body.

The last thing you want to do is eat a pound of bacon and feel sorry for yourself. Bacon is awesome, but if you’re trying to maintain a healthy body composition, now is the time to keep nutrition sharp. Especially since caloric expenditure has now taken a hit, you can’t get away with what you used to consume.

Take this time to fill your body with nutrients so that you keep your physique, but you’re also able to transcend shitty feelings about your injury.

3.) Focus on other projects.

Are you an artist? A writer? A fundraiser?

Use this time to focus on things you may not have been able to focus on in the past when you were going a million miles a minute.

This reminds me of when one of my friends tore her ACL and spent a good chunk of her off time reading fiction books, growing her online business, and journaling.

So what are you going to do to take action mentally when you can’t do so physically?

Remember, injuries don’t have to mean plopping on a couch and watching Netflix with ice cream in hand.

Keep things moving as much as you can, and your recovery and return back to sport will be a lot smoother.

So there you go. Short post today. Hope this helped.



  • Jay
    Posted at 19:28h, 15 October Reply

    Well, being just recovered from a hip injury which knocked me out for 6 months… ähem…

    I hear you.

    Most important lessons I learned:

    1. Do what you can.: I am a runner. Couldn’t though. So I got into biking. And that opened perspectives. Totally psyched about first triathlon next year.

    2. Work around injuries: Who’d thought I could do pull-ups?! Well, there you go.

    3. Listen to your body: Sounds blant but is so true. Most injuries are overuse. And from not listening to what the machine in you was needing. It needs gas (nutrition), it needs regular checkups and treatment (crosstraining, stretches, ….), and it needs rest at times. Though that sucks… it is worth it. And I got one of those stupid black rolls…

    So being back on track with first long run in today since… what feels like eternity… Ill sign up for my first marathon next year and I am positive that with what I learned from my injury, it will be great.

    Injury is humbling.

    But it makes it a journey.

    • erica
      Posted at 23:17h, 15 October Reply

      Thanks for your awesome perspectives. Injury is NEVER easy and certainly humbling! Again, focus on what you can do and perhaps what *new* movements you can master. 🙂

Post A Comment