Turning an Injury Into an Advantage

Turning an Injury Into an Advantage

If you are training hard or have an active lifestyle for long enough, there’s a great chance that you are going to run into some sort of injury. Or maybe you already have a nagging injury from years ago that requires your immediate attention because it impacts your ability to train the way you would like to.
I have had few serious injuries in my 10 years in competitive judo. The worst of these injuries have required surgery and some lengthy time in rehab and time off the mat. Most recently I tore the luno-schapho ligament in my wrist. This is the main stabilizing ligament within the center of the wrist. While this ligament was damaged I could expect bones in my wrist to slip out of place – training to full capacity was therefore impossible and immediate surgery necessary.

When you get an injury, you can do one of three things:

  • Train through the injury. You can choose to ignore that you have an injury altogether, training as you would, ignoring all pain and discomfort.  It’s one thing to ‘guts it out’ if you are a professional athlete, but if you’re simply a fitness enthusiast who trains for enjoyment and health, I believe this is an unnecessary risk, which may have bigger implications on your lifestyle. In this case, you can almost always guarantee that this injury will get worse, forcing you to take a rain check on your training altogether.
  • Stop training completely until your problem resolves itself.You may find your injury heals itself over time, but sometimes time does not heal all. You may also find that your injury is stubborn or worse than first thought. It may require surgery or a rehab program before returning to full time training.
  • Attend to any medical requirements and train around the injury.This means that you continue to train hard, but avoid anything that effects or causes pain to the recovering area.

I believe this is a crucial opportunity to assess your weaknesses and work to make them your strengths, especially if you do kickboxing. The elements you focus on while injured will have a magnified workload, much more time dedicated to their development, while building resistance to fatigue and or injury.

3What I love about judo is that there are so many elements that effect the outcome of a fight. There is so much to work on that you will always find something you can do to improve your game. If this is an extremely serious injury and all you do affects this area, there are still things you can do to stop regression. Just by watching you can help stimulate the motor networks linked to the skills you are observing and reduce the loss of your skill through inactivity.
This is the time to be creative with your training, but most of all, to be patient. Coming back from injury won’t happen overnight. It will take time, but you will find your recovery will be quicker if you address it immediately, rather taking a chance for the worst to happen. The wisdom is in knowing that you have to leave it to your body, not your ego. This time around I have barely noticed I have been injured.