You know that saying if you don’t use it you lose it?
That’s how it is with flexibility.
Getting back the flexibility of my ankle was a big challenge for me, and from experience I know it’s a biggie for others as well. A lot of questions that I get are about stiff and broken ankles (after all, I fractured mine 5 years ago and I haven’t stopped talking about it since). Questions like this one from Poonam: “It’s 12 weeks since I had my surgery for a trimalleolar fracture. Am walking a few steps with a stick. No limp. But have a lot of stiffness in the ankle. How do I deal with that?”
When you don’t use your body, or any part of the body, for a longer period of time, it gets stiff – and actually, it doesn’t matter if we are talking about injury or not.
After two weeks or so of lying in bed back in 2012, when I was still in the cast and spending summer days in the horizontal position, I noticed how stiff my back became. It was a weird, stiff feeling to move side to side. I was prepared for a stiff ankle but I wasn’t prepared for getting stiff anywhere else. I’m pretty flexible naturally, so this experience obviously threw me off. And I have to say that after that day, I included some easy stretching exercises for my back in my daily routine.
So do you struggle getting back the flexibility you lost after your injury? If that’s so, I have a solution for you.Injured? Here's an interesting article: 3 Different Ways For Resolving Stiffness After Injury Click To Tweet
I prepared a video about this where I’m talking about 3 different ways for regaining the flexibility after an injury. And the best thing is – it doesn’t matter what kind of injury you have, what I share with you is going to help you no matter what.
When it comes to flexibility, the first thought for most people is exercise. And yes, exercises are an important part of regaining the flexibility BUT they are NOT the only thing to take care of. In today’s video, I share 3 different ways to improve flexibility and get rid of the stiffness. (magic hint: for best results you have to combine all three).
Watch the video below.
Things mentioned in the video:
- [free online program] 7 Essential Ankle Exercises (get access below)
- [injured ankle video] Dealing with flexibility/dorsiflexion (join the support group first to watch it)
- [Ask Maya 4] Walking With A Stiff Ankle?
- [online program] Guided Healing Meditations (now it’s a part of Completely Healed Academy >>)
I get a lot of questions on flexibility and soreness. I’m answering all of them and more today. Even though the bulk of queries I receive involve both fractured and injured ankles, what I’m about to share with you will be helpful regardless of injury type.
Flexibility and fitness are best viewed from three different perspectives.
Perspective #1: EXERCISES
Physiotherapy or the treatment of injury/disease/deformity through various methods such as heat, massage, and exercise (rather than by surgery), forms a crucial cornerstone in any healing process.
But know that while your physiotherapists are part of your recovery team, you HAVE to do the majority of the work ON YOUR OWN at home. There’s no way around this. You cannot expect miracles if you rely on the physiotherapist (or a session or two per week) alone. YOU have to do the work.
And most importantly, you have to be consistent and persistent with everything you do.
(If you fractured your ankle, I am giving you access to my free program – 7 Essential Ankle Exercises ⤵ . Please don’t miss this.
A great recovery is possible, and an injured ankle doesn’t need to stay stiff and sore forever!
Get access to physiotherapist-approved foot stretching and strengthening exercises to improve your recovery and get back to your favorite activities.
Perspective #2: NUTRITION
I advocate a whole-food plant-based diet for a variety of reasons.
The most important is controlling and minimizing inflammation. Food has a lot to do with it. (And no, there are no shortcuts. You can’t get all these benefits from a pill.)
Less Inflammation = Better and Faster Healing.
Inflammation, however, isn’t always a bad thing. We actually need inflammation because it’s the body’s response to infection or injury and is a necessary part of EVERY healing. When you injure yourself, the injured part tends to get hot, red, swollen, and inflamed and it’s a completely natural process.
But the thing is, too much inflammation isn’t good at all, either. And most people unknowingly contribute to the “fire” by consuming foods and adhering to bad habits that cause more inflammation.
Why is too much inflammation a bad thing? Isn’t that good because it fights off reinjury and protects the affected body part?
While inflammation is a normal part of recovery, too much of it means that the injured part of your body isn’t as flexible. If everything is swollen (and painful), easy movement is simply impossible.
My solution (and one that has worked for every client of mine) is to be mindful of the foods that you eat.
Eliminate inflammatory foods such as:
- Processed, and fried foods
- Artificial sweeteners
- Artificial Additives,
- Foods that are high in arachidonic acid such as meat, dairy, eggs, and other animal-based food. (Note that your body produces arachidonic acid which is necessary to induce healing. No arachidonic acid, no healing. However, our bodies already produce all the arachidonic acid that we need for the healing cascade to happen.)
And add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet. What are these?
- Herbs and spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger
- Anti-inflammatory plant foods
- Foods high in Vitamin C
(Another thing that you might find interesting is a study (published in April 2019) that established a connection between animal fats and osteoarthritis. High-fat diets make it even worse!)
Top off proper nutrition with hydration and sleep. Rest is so underrated but is absolutely non-negotiable when it comes to complete recovery.
Perspective #3: THE MIND-BODY CONNECTION
The mind-body connection is my favorite aspect of injury recovery.
Your body follows your mind. Whatever happens in your conscious and subconscious mind affects your body directly.
People don’t pay attention to this as much only because it isn’t tangible. You can’t “measure” how “well” your mind is in the same way you measure physical exercises or what food you eat.
But to illustrate why it’s so important, let’s say you are constantly living with negative thoughts and emotions (such as fear and anger). When you’re wrought with fear and anger, your muscles and tendons are a bit more contracted and stiff. You cannot relax as much. It’s as simple as that. You don’t notice it, but that’s a quick and simple illustration of the connection between your negative emotions and your physical state.
Here’s what has always worked for me and my clients:
- mindful practices such as meditation and visualization
- mental exercises and changing beliefs around your healing, your body and you capabilities
- mindful journaling (by writing things down, you process what goes on in your mind and why you feel what you feel)
- releasing negative emotions – those that keep you stuck and/or prevent your body to heal with ease
- changing your perception
- and so on…
It isn’t surprising for many feelings and stuck emotions to go back as far as your childhood. Your injury may just have triggered something from your past. You weren’t aware of it, until this moment.
If you aren’t able to deal with this, your body can definitely be affected by the stress. Stress affects your healing, your recovery, as well as your flexibility and stiffness.
What are your beliefs?
What you believe about your body, your health, and your capability to get over these challenges, all play a role in your recovery as well.
Injury is a setback. You can always approach this as “waiting to heal from an accident” OR you can approach this injury as “a symptom of something deeper”.
What I believe may be a little controversial for most people.
I do believe that accidents are a metaphor for something else in our lives and they happen for a reason.
When I fractued my talus bone, stopping and thinking about my life, my decisions, and where I wanted to go became the only option. Injuries can be a great time to deal with emotional issues. This is the reason why my favorite aspect of injury recovery is the mind-body connection and mindful healing practices. You can really take this time to work on yourself, grow, face issues head-on, and move forward.
And this is what creates miracles for my clients as well. You can, of course, approach recovery however you like. You can view it as an accident or a symptom of something deeper. Think about it.
- What do I believe about my body? My health?
- What have I heard from the doctors, physiotherapists, nurses, friends, and family? What do I choose as my truth?
- Have you heard something horrible about your potential outcome and took it as your truth?
Exercise, Nutrition/Hydration, and Mind-Body Connection = all these have to work together for best results.
Your next step…
Would you like more structure for your recovery?
Does accountability and guidance from someone who’s been where you’re at right now and knows how to change things fast, sound good to you?
Then let’s explore how I can help you recover in the best possible way. Schedule your call now ⤵
When healing physical trauma personalized guidance is priceless!
Book a call with Dr. Maya and discover how the Mindful Injury Recovery Method can help you heal quickly & effortlessly so that you can start enjoying your life again.