Last week I discussed how I began the process of coming back from a foot injury. This week, I’ll share some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way. Here we go…

  1. Necessity is the mother of innovation. Every great idea fills a void. I knew I had to start getting creative with how I moved when getting on the floor wasn’t an option.
  2. The power of observation! As teachers, we’re good at cueing and doing, but our observation always needs to be sharpened. I also found pure joy in being a class I couldn’t take but able to be the observer and learn so much by watching.
  3. Your body is the greatest teacher; everyone else is just guiding you to the gate. I found it so necessary to move and figure out the things that were working for my body and not working. The Roll Model Therapy Balls were also an important component of the letting my PT where I had issues that affected my initial injury. A problem in my big toe found relief and release in my low back. Injury means more exploration, not less. Move in ways that are not painful and in ways that are consistent with things that you are doing with your PT.
  4. Empathy helps you as a teacher to understand students of all levels and injury. Different points of view give more scope and ability to help populations that may have been invisible before. Injury recovery is very small steps. Being able to do simple things like get up and down off the floor should be treated like the important milestones they are.
  5. Step outside of your movement box. I’ve found progression in so many places like yoga, TRX, Pilates, strength training, walking/hiking, corrective exercise, and probably other modalities that I haven’t even tried yet. Not only does it help inform my teaching, it again helps to speak to different populations and add new perspective to current movement.
  6. Touch! Rolling my foot wasn’t really an option as it was so inflamed. I had to being with (you guessed it) touch. Less is sometimes more. Then, I began to slowly progress into rolling my feet while sitting.
  7. This is an opportunity to learn more about your anatomy. Get a book! Go online! It was really interesting to look up the muscles (and their friends) where I was in pain and see where they originate and insert into in my skeletal map. But it was also interesting to move and feel the relationships between the injured area and the rest of my body. Sometimes, it’s not about where you’re injured but somewhere else that wasn’t fully functional. My big toe eventually was able to point but that wasn’t the end of the story. I’ve had some relapses but through #5 above, I’ve come to figure that spinal movement is my one of my blind spots. (Alprazolam) Even a year out, I’m still finding ways to improve my foot.
  8. Seek outside help that includes mental health services. Sometimes, injuries are perfect time to clean not just your movement “house” but mental “clutter” that prevents your best movement and awareness thereof.

Although I wish you all to remain healthy and mobile, I hope that these tips are useful to anyone who ends up recovering from injury.

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