A lesson from the pinky toe

Posted by Jenn @ livewellfit on January 17th, 2010
Filed under Motivation | 2 Comments »

Hello there!

So this weekend has turned out very differently than I had planned. The to-do list was large and involved a night with the girls, spending time outside in very spring-like 45 degree weather, cleaning up the apartment (we're talking a mega reorganization), looking at wedding invitations, and 3 very intense workouts to prepare for day 1 of Insanity on Monday.

Let's just say all of that went out the window very quickly on Friday when my coffee table near jumped out in front of me and stubbed my pinky toe. The only thing I can be thankful for is that I was alone because if anyone was here, you would have heard and seen things that you didn't want to. It hurt. It hurt real bad. I never knew your smallest toe could promote such pain. But of course, I thought nothing of it other than maybe a small sprain and I moved on. But an hour later, 2 hours later, 4 hours later the swelling magnified and continued to do so. By evening time my toe was almost as large as my big toe. I have never broken a bone but I was starting to wonder what could have happened.

Long story short: Spent 3 hours in a walk-in clinic yesterday, xrays confirm that the blasted thing is broken, a bit of realignment so the little guy can heal in the right place and I get to dummy tape it every day and stay off it until it doesn't hurt anymore. What do you mean until it doesn't hurt anymore?!?! How long will that take? I got plans people. Things to do and this does not work well if I have to ice, elevate and rest! Naturally my mind went into a tailspin about all the things I now won't be able to do. Say goodbye to my high intensity, jumping all around workout programs, say goodbye to the major cleaning in our apartment that I have been planning ever since the madness holiday season ended and to walking around Boston with ease. I could go on ya know?

As I sat in bed last night getting visibly frustrated at what has happened I began to realize what my mind was doing. Not only was I focusing on the bad and horrible of the situation but I hadn't even given a thought to my own body. What does my body need to heal fast and heal properly? I know it's just a toe but what can I do to lessen the discomfort? Why is it that when something happens to us, we immediately jump into the things we can no longer do and ignore the injury?

The workout routine can wait, the mega cleaning can wait. ALL of it can wait! My body…won't wait. So I spent a wee bit of time forcing thinking about some of the very simple things my body will need to heal: slow down for a few weeks, rest so that the bone can start to fuse in place, ice so the nasty swelling and bruising dissipates. And take a deep breath. Take a deep breath.

Do you notice how your mind works when something goes wrong? Without missing a beat, my tiny injury became everything OTHER than the injury! Why is it so hard to take care of our own bodies, our own health? Needless to say, I've been thinking and here's my plan:

  • I will rest this foot for the next 1-3 days until the swelling and bruising lessens. That means no walking around the city and no cardio that involves putting weight on the foot.
  • I will follow my prescribed treatment plan of ice 4x day, advil 3x day and elevation periodically.
  • I will incorporate forms of exercise that don't involve my feet: upper body work, abs, strength exercises.
  • Once I can comfortably put weight on my foot, I will start biking and swimming.
  • I will not modify my eating or approach to nutrition in any way other than what do everyday: listen to my body, listen to the cues it is giving me for what it needs.
  • In roughly a month, I will begin Insanity and I will be more prepared to have my butt kicked!

Am I still frustrated? Of course. Does this present new challenges? Of course. But, in the grand scheme of life, this is very small. Pinky toe kind of small. But the lesson is very large: listen to your body. Recognize when it needs you to stop, slow down and pay attention. If I had ignored my body and just pushed through the pain like I initially did for the first day, I would likely end up with a torn tendon, cartilage damage and then surgery. All because of a stinking pinky toe.

Life is always such a busy place, isn't it? Sometimes it takes a little thing to remind us to take a deep breath and start caring for our bodies. Well, off to ice and then start my strength workout. I see about 100 modified push ups in my future!

'Till next time!

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2 Responses to “A lesson from the pinky toe”

  1. whydeprive says:

    Oh that sounds AWFUL! I sprained my pinky toe once right before my first ever horse show. I had to cram my swollen foot into skin tight leather boots. I totally feel your pain!

  2. Deana says:

    Thanks for the words of encouragement out of, if nothing else, a painful and annoying turn of events. It is funny how something as tiny as a small toe can throw a wrench into our entire lives. Thanks for the bit of perspective. I know I'm one that needs reminding from time to time that life's just not that bad. Now rest and heal up soon.

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