Accepting injury

It is very frustrating to live with with injuries that could have been prevented. However it is also important to accept where one is at any given point in time. One way of doing this that I have thought of is to realise that in general if something can go wrong it will or to express this differently we live in a very chaotic world. I don’t know a lot about chaos theory but in our universe it is seems to be a lot easier to break something than to repair it. For example, it is relatively easy to blow up a building but to construct a building is a big undertaking. So there does seem to be something built in the fabric of the universe that means that destruction happens more easily than creation. Some people call this Murphy’s Law. Applied to injury it means that as humans or indeed any other kind of animal or species our bodies and minds are prone to injury and in this imperfect world that we live in these injuries may not always be prevented or healed in the correct way when we seek the support of medical services.

So how does one accept injuries? One way is to focus on what one can still do rather than what one experiences limitations with.  Every day it is good to practice a gratitude exercise.  Some people find that taking a kind of fatalistic approach helps i.e. just accepting that this is the way that things turn out sometimes, for whatever reason. It’s also probably useful to find ways round whatever limitations one has so that the injury does not prevent you from doing what you want to do in your life. Some people can even see a positive side to an injury that it sometimes open doors that they were not aware of before.

Money and injury

I have noticed a connection between money and injury. The lack of or the unwillingness to spend money and finances I think can predispose one to injury.  This is due to a number of factors,i) the stress of not having money ii) overworking iii) not using the right tools and equipment.  In terms of practical examples what this means is having your car and/or bicycle regularly serviced, with a computer investing in good speech recognition software – if you decided to use this, a good mouse. Unfortunately it may also mean spending money on getting the right diagnosis to determine whether you have an injury and what it is.

A rose by any other name. What is an injury?

It may seem obvious to define or identify what an injury is, but alas this is not the case. There are 2 kinds of injury; the acute and the misuse injury. Misuse injuries are often referred to as overuse injuries, but overuse is only one element of misuse.  An acute injury is usually clear, but misuse injuries are more complex. It took me a while to realise that I was experiencing a string of injuries. There is also an overlap between degeneration of the body and injuries. Clearly, as we become older and our bodies are not as resilient then we are more prone to injury. However, if you look after yourself as you age then you are less likely to experience misuse injuries and even young people can experience an overuse injury, so everything cannot always be blamed on the ageing process. Age is a risk factor for injury, but there are a number of other important risk factors such as posture.

Things become even more complex when the concept of injury is applied to mental health. I would argue that there is no reason why it shouldn’t be applied, because there is no reason to assume that the mechanisms that apply to our bodies do not also apply to our minds. The concept of trauma i.e. acute injury is readily applied to mental health, so why can’t the notion of misuse injury also be applied?

Pes Cavus feet

Pes Cavus is a foot shape where your arches are quite high. It tends to be associated with having some claw or hammer toes as well. Pes Cavus is less common than having flat feet. Because high arched feet have less contact with the ground, it means that more impact from walking is being taken through the heel and forefoot. The Pes Cavus foot is referred to as a supinated foot as opposed to a pronated foot. Pronation is the part of the gait cycle where your foot moves from heel strike to the big toe making contact with the ground. This rolling type motion on the inner side of the foot which is referred to as pronation, absorbs some of the impact of walking. It can be compared to absorbing force from a fall by rolling on the ground rather than just hitting the ground. Because the pes cavus foor does not pronate as well it absorbs less of the impact of walking and therefore predisposes to knee, ankle and hip injuries. The pes cavus foot is also less flexible than the neutral foot which is another reason why it can lead to injuries. These injuries can also include ankle sprains.

Since the pronated foot is the most common foot type most trainers are designed for the pronated foot shape. It is possible to get orthotics for pes cavus feet but I think that my recent orthotics actually made me sprain my ankle because the supportive arch that was built into the orthotic made my foot tilt over into more supinated position and made me more likely to have an eversion ankle sprain.

Humidity

I have just discovered recently that there is a link between humidity levels and allergies, chemical sensitivities, and depression. Humidity levels within a house need to be kept within certain limits; humidity shouldn’t be too high or too low. I humidity and low humidity can both cause issues. In relation to high humidity watch I have learned is that if there is a high level of humidity which of course means that the air is more saturated with water this water saturation that toxic chemicals can be held within the atmosphere more easily. If this is within your house then that means that you are breathing in these chemicals. It’s not a good idea to dry wet clothing directly on radiators because this can cause dust mites to breed and of course dust mites can cause allergic reactions. I’m not exactly sure how high levels of humidity can cause depression so this is something that I’m going to look into. Humidity can be controlled by being careful to cover cooking pots with lids, opening windows in kitchens and bathrooms when they are in use, using the highest spin when drying clothes, using smaller towels-possibly ones with microfibres-and of course think about using a dehumidifier as well.

R. I. C. E.

Recently I injured my hand doing some physiotherapy stretches. I was experiencing a  slight pain which I thought would just go away but the following morning I woke up and it felt a lot worse. So I began putting ice on to my hand and by the evening I was feeling a lot better.  Whether this was just a coincidence or not I don’t know. Thinking that I should quickly start exercising again a few days later I cycled into town. This involves mainly going downhill which entails using the bicycle brakes a lot. When I got to where I was going my hand was hurting again and I realise that I hadn’t given myself enough rest, even though probably using ice had been helpful. So since then I have been using some ice again and I have researched this topic on the Internet and there seems to be different views about how beneficial ice is, though I get the feeling that the consensus is that in the early stages of an injury ice is a good thing to use. It makes sense to me that you could have inflammation and swelling that isn’t easily visible to the eye but which could cause damage to tissues and by using ice you are preventing that secondary injury process. So I have been converted to the idea of using ice even where swelling isn’t visible.

What is mental rest?

What is the best way to rest mentally?  Is it just to let one’s mind drift? This is a subject that has been investigated by the Max Planck Institute in Germany. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging scanners they found that there was less brain activity when subjects were focusing on a mental task than when they were simply letting their mind drift. A mind that is unfocused may also be more likely to experience negative thinking, worrying feelings of social isolation which put more stress onto the brain.

Cartilage injury

The problem with cartilage is that it doesn’t have a good nerve or blood supply. What this means is that If you injure it you often don’t feel that much pain so it can feel as if it’s a minor injury, you are less inclined to rest it properly and then you don’t recover. The second problem with cartilage injuries is that because cartilage does not have a good blood supply ,apart from around the periphery, is it is difficult for the body to heal the injury. Therefore it is important to take any discomfort that you feel around a joint very seriously.

Does cartilage heal? Apparently there was some evidence that cartilage can heal. When MRI scans have been taken of people who have cartilage injuries a while after they have had the injury, some people’s MRI scans show that there has been healing of the cartilage. There are various medical surgical approaches to heal cartilage but from what I have read there doesn’t seem to be something so far that is a really effective, simple and safe approach. I am currently experimenting with various nutritional supplements that include glucosamine, chondroitin, ginger, vitamin D, vitamin C and omega three fatty acids. In terms of food there is some evidence that broccoli might be beneficial and various people recommend garlic, onions, ginger and cabbage.