As seen in Apex Matters March edition
As I write this article, I am sitting on my couch icing my knee. I had a run in with Peashooter last week. All I can think about is when I can get back out and claim that run the next time.
I have had some time this week to put into protocols for hastening recovery time. Even though I am repeatedly telling myself patience, it will come.
Here are some of my tips all fresh in mind from my personal journey.
Shelf the Anti-inflammatories & Pain medications
Let your body do its thing. Inflammation brings with it all of the growth factors to heal an injury. You take an Advil or Ibuprofen, you have thwarted that whole healing process.
Pain is also there for a reason. So that you don’t do something stupid while there is an injury. The trick though is to let pain guide you but don’t let the pain get ahead of you. That’s where using pain relievers and ice, not anti-inflammatories, can be helpful - especially with more severe injuries.
Back to the wound healing process. After any soft tissue injury the body has specific series of responses, divided into 3 consecutive phases. The acute inflammatory phase. The proliferative or repair phase. And the tissue remodeling phase. The acute inflammatory phase occurs within minutes of an injury and continues over the next 3 days. If you stop this phase from going through completion by taking anti-inflammatories, your body doesn’t progress naturally into the proliferative and remodeling phases. Plus Professor James McCormack, from UBC, confirms there is no evidence that non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAID) improve the outcome of acute sports injuries.
Seek Treatment Early.
I injured myself on Sunday and was in to see my physiotherapist by Monday. I wanted to know what was going on & to set on the best course of action to get myself better. And let’s face it get back on the hill safely as quickly as possible. I can’t quite put myself on a pedestal as I did refuse to seek emergent help beyond the great support from ski patrol. Being on ski patrol, I have seen that it is all too common, to refuse treatment brushing off any level of injury as being fine.
Granted, immediately following an injury there is a flood of adrenaline through the system. This adrenalin distorts your perception of what really is going on, allowing you to be in fight or flight.
With the advice of a physiotherapist, get moving as soon as you can. Guided restoration of mobility can improve blood flow into the area and get waste products out. If exercise is recommended for your injury, get on it. The exercise will reduce muscle weakening or atrophy, improve nerve signaling and reduce joint stiffness.
Your body is in hyper healing mode. You need to fuel your body with the right foods, to give you the building blocks to heal quickly. I have been loading my smoothies with greens and protein powder noting that my energy needs are up during recovery. Even though I am bound to a bit more television than I am used to, I have been avoiding all the traditional junk snack food but rather snacking on mixed nuts and avocados. Sugar and processed food are inflammatory and don’t fuel the body’s needs for repair. Focus your nutrition on anabolic support by loading the body with protein from fish, nuts, poultry and protein powders.
There are a couple of vitamins that come to mind to hasten healing. Vitamin C is top of the list. This vitamin is needed for collagen repair, crucial in the bond formation. It also is a powerful antioxidant taken at doses from 2 to 4 grams per day. Secondly, is Zinc. Zinc is a mineral that is part of numerous enzymatic processes in the body. These enzymes are running on overdrive during tissue regeneration and repair. Recommended doses of Zinc is between 15-30mg per day. Proteolytic enzymes, like bromelian, can be used to balance the inflammatory process and break up scar tissue. Curcumin can also be a player here to modulate the inflammatory process and act as a powerful antioxidant to expedite healing.
If you got injured this season on the slopes, I hope these steps help you getting back to what you love to do.
Malted Maca Smoothie by Dr Heidi Lescanec
1 1/2 cups almond or other nut or seed milk
4 dates, pitted
2 Tbsp almond or other nut or seed butter
2-3 tsp maca powder (to taste)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4-6 ice cubes
pinch of sea salt
optional: 1 Tbsp cocoa powder or cocoa nibs
The version without chocolate is my favourite, but the addition of some cocoa nibs or powder makes it more dessert-like with a little cocoa/caffeine boost. I am sure no one will complain.
1. Measure and add nut milk (or blend from nuts you soak the night before)
2. Add the dates, nut/seed butter, maca, vanilla, cinnamon and ice, and blend again until smooth
Yield: 2 servings
Optional mix & match toppings: cinnamon, a few sprinkles of ground cocoa powder or nibs, sliced almonds, cinnamon stick