Injuries are almost an inevitable part of one’s journey through life, and this is even more true for competitive athletes. As a professional triathlete, I’ve dealt with several injuries, each of which forced me to take time away from competition. But every injury, while frustrating, has been an opportunity to learn more about myself and to adapt to and overcome the challenges that come with each new strain, sprain, or accident.
I began working with ALTA Physical Therapy in early 2015, and since then, PT has become an integral part of my training. I stay on top of any small tweaks or imbalances before they become big problems.
What have I learned?
Seek professional help early following an injury and then listen to the experts!
In 2012, I suffered a stress fracture in my left foot during a half-ironman distance event. It was another two months before the injury was properly diagnosed. The healing process was drawn out as a result of my impatience (I’ll admit it!) and inexperience with stress fractures. I tried coming back far too soon and was too aggressive in my return to running. If only I had known about the Anti-gravity treadmill in 2012! Being injured was a humbling experience in my first season as a professional and gave me a new appreciation for being healthy.
Stress fractures are typically over-use injuries. They generally happen because we increase distance or speed too quickly or have so me imbalances that we can’t see or feel until it’s too late.
- Trigger point dry needling (TDN) has been effective for relieving muscle tightness and allowing me to train at full capacity.
- An SFMA – A Selective Functional Movement Assessment helps your therapist highlight imbalances and develop corrective exercises for your individual problems. My therapist, Scott Swann, discovered that my left glute was much weaker than my right.
- I also underwent video analysis on the treadmill to make sure my body was moving correctly while running. Being able to see my running style and adjust it based on Scott’s feedback proved to be invaluable.
- If only I had known about the Alter G (anti-gravity treadmill) when I had stress fractures. The Alter G allows you to run unweighted pain free. Not only do you run with good form and no pain, you are back running sooner.