My Hamstring Tendon Tear Recovery Process
Two weeks ago, I tore my hamstring tendon, right at the top where the tendon attaches to the bone.... I have injured myself before, I hurt my left hamstring at a pole show in Oslo last year but I push through the pain. I did my right side about 6 weeks ago, but again pushed through.
This time it was different.
I knew I had been overdoing it. A lot. As a fitness coach my job is to instruct others on how to use their bodies: What is right, what is wrong, how far they should push and when to stop pushing. I was teaching so much I forgot to look out for my own body.
I LOVE my job, Yoga and Aerial are my happy place, but my boyfriend said it best 'it's great that you love what you do, but you need to learn to love and respect your body first otherwise your career won't last long' he is, of course, right. For months I have been ignoring my partner and my boss politely suggesting that *MAYBE* I am doing too much. I was working everyday, teaching anywhere from 2 to 8 classes a day alongside my own personal practice. My body was working so hard and having no time to recover.
Everybody needs rest days, I know how hard it is to become addicted to exercise and want to keep going, I could see my abs and I was loving my personal practice and watching my students grow. But I didn't realise that it was taking it's tole on me.
I got a cough and cold a few weeks ago that just would not shift, this is so unlike me, I hardly ever get sick, and when I do, you better believe I work through it. You are ONLY as sick as you think you are, but this sniffle and chesty cough just wouldn't quit. My boss told me to take a few days off and let my body rest. Begrudgingly, I agreed. I headed home and London had decided to bless us with sunshine, my boyfriend was still on tour for a few more days and my mum was coming up from Hastings to see me, it was a perfect couple of days to just chill and enjoy having the house to myself. On the third day, the sun shone into my apartment and the heat meant I could walk around in my underwear and drink smoothies, I took my dogs out to the park and when I got home I decided to wind down in front to the windows with a generic Yoga flow, something I usually practice everyday, nothing fancy, 25 minutes or so. Maybe even make a little time-lapse for instagram...
I pulled out my mat and began to stretch, after a couple of minutes, I went into splits on my right hand side, something I do, and have done for years, in my everyday practice. I felt stiff so I leant forward, that was when it happened, a noise... much like the grinding of gears, or fabric ripping, I immediately knew something was wrong. I pulled my leg back and lay on my mat, my heart thumping hard. I felt pain surging through my leg and my hips, I attempted to stand but the pain was too much. I tried to convince myself it was fine, I iced my hamstring and took a nap.
Unfortunately for me, this was not fine. The next day I went to physio, hoping and praying it wasn't as bad as google had told me it was. I was limping and couldn't sit on my right butt cheek. It wasn't looking great for me. They scanned my hamstring and told me I had torn the tendon, right at the top, one of the most severe and hardest to heal hamstring injuries you can do. My doctors claimed they had only ever seen hamstring injuries this bad TWICE in their career. I was to do nothing, for at least 4 weeks.
My heart was shattered, it still is, I was finally in a good place, mentally, physically and financially and now all three were seemingly taken from me in a matter of seconds. I couldn't believe it. My physio informed me I was lucky I didn't need surgery... so that's something, I guess. I asked if my flexibility will ever return, to which they replied 'We can't say, either way', but added that I would probably still be in pain in 6 months.
I was also told that this was an injury in the waiting, my body was being pushed to its limits. I knew this of course. I'm so angry with myself for not taking more care, and I will of course when I go back to work.
It is SO important to listen to the warning signs before it's too late, this has been two of the hardest weeks of my life and the improvement is minuscule, my limp is almost gone and I can sit on my ass... but not for too long. I can't lunge or split, wouldn't even dare try... and fast movements cause a surge of pain I cannot even describe. I am hoping to start training again in two weeks, I have been slowly edging back onto my mat bit by bit, working on deepening my backbends and when I get the OK from my physio, hand balances.
This injury has turned my world upside down, here are a few tips for anyone suffering from muscle tears, strains, ache, pains and injuries:
- REST! I cannot stress this enough, You must rest for atlas the first week or two, with the leg it's hard... we need to walk, but try and limit it. Getting 8 hours of sleep a night will aid your recovery.
- BIOFREEZE This gel is so underrated, you can get it from most pharmacies and it is super cheap. It is a cold gel that I usually put on my muscles after a work out, it has been a god send through out these past two weeks, I apply it 3 times a day at the moment.
- ICE When you first injure yourself try icing the are for 10-20 mins every few hours (I hate doing this , I do it way less then I should) but it helps with the pain.
- IBUPROFEN Anti - inflammatory and pain relieving... I hate taking pain killers but sometimes it is necessary.
- EAT WELL Look after your body so it heals faster. Vegetables, fruit, good fats and protein (obviously don't over eat if you're used to being in the gym and are suddenly immobile)
- HEAT After the first week use heat as well as ice, the heat will aid with healing as it helps blood flow to the area, in the first week the tear could still be bleeding and heat could make it worse/encourage bruising.
- PHYSIOTHERAPY Some muscle aches, pains and strains will heal on their on in time if you use the above home treatments. If you have absolutely no movement in said body part or the pain is particularly excruciating, see a physio or a doctor.
- LISTEN TO YOUR BODY The most important of all, listen to the signs that you are injured, exhausted, training too hard or generally over doing it. As a teacher I should know better, as usual I am the one telling everyone else what they should do, whilst I lay here injured!
Please wish me luck with my healing process, I need to be back in the air/on the mat for my own sanity and that of my boyfriends!