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Expert Advice

Expert Advice

Overcoming Physical Injury & Obstacles

By Jami Boyd, Physiotherapist

“With the right knowledge, support and patience, an injury can be overcome without turning your whole world upside down.”

There is an athlete in all of us. And unfortunately, injuries will happen regardless of whether you consider yourself an athlete or not. If you are in touch with your body and listen when things don’t feel quite right, you will be able to start on your path to recovery.  However, sometimes injuries happen that are completely out of our control and are unexpected.

So, what do we have control over when we get hurt?

Steps through recovery process

One of the keys (that is often overlooked) is to simply understand the injury. If you know what to expect, you are less likely to get anxious and you will have a greater sense of control and confidence. Ultimately, you are the driver of your rehab. The more in control you are, the more empowered you will be to follow through in your rehab process. Ask questions to your healthcare professional, they don’t think you are wasting their time. Know your diagnosis and expected time to recover. Are there common setbacks or speedbumps that people commonly experience with your particular injury? What foods should you be eating to aid in the healing process? Are there alternative workouts that you can safely do? We will explore some of the key points further below.

The second thing I would recommend on your road to recovery is to maintain a positive attitude and set realistic goals for yourself.  It is easy to start feeling sorry for yourself when an injury occurs. Reach out to friends, teammates and family members, as they will be your biggest support network. Focus on the things you can do, instead of what you can’t do. Maybe you have been wanting to change your eating habits but have kept procrastinating because you were too “busy.” Use the time that you were previously in the gym to adjust your eating habits and ensure you are eating a healthy, balanced diet in order to get all the nutrients to aid in your recovery (we’ll get to that a bit later).

Activities and nutrition to help maintain strength during your recovery

Injuries are bound to happen from time to time, whether you are a professional athlete or a weekend warrior. However, that doesn’t mean your training needs to be completely derailed and stopped. If you can’t run, why not cycle, swim or continue with your regular weightlifting routine? Can you get creative and use the rowing machine with one leg, and have the injured foot on a sliding disc on the floor?

It’s important to work with what you have available, and try to avoid the mindset that you can’t do anything. You may even find something else you can continue to cross-train with, even after your injury has healed.

An equally important factor that is often overlooked during the healing phase of an injury is proper nutrition and sleep hygiene. Your body requires proper nutrients to assist with the healing process.  Ensure you are eating a variety of foods including proteins and carbohydrates to fuel your body, and various fruits and veggies to maintain muscle and bone health and reduce inflammation. Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night to allow your body optimum time to recover and regenerate the damaged tissues.

Ways to avoid injury

Injuries often come from a place of muscle imbalance, stress or overtraining. Have you been doing the same exercises for a number of months or years with no variety or progressions? We are all guilty of that from time to time, myself included. It’s time to switch up that routine, challenge yourself and keep moving!

If you’re just getting back into working out after an extended time off, re-evaluate your goals and expectations. What you were lifting back in March may not be where your current fitness level is at—so be mindful, realistic and get back at it!

Since switching to a home office due to COVID 19, have you been working from a less than ideal setup on a regular basis? Try to replicate your office ergonomics as best you can. And as tempting as the couch might be for your next virtual meeting—it’s likely not the best choice.

Work with your healthcare provider to determine what may be the underlying cause of your injury, so you are able to come back stronger and minimize the risk of re-injury from non-traumatic causes. It may only require a minor adjustment to get you back on track to achieve the goals you have set for yourself.

Role of healthy foods to keep bones strong and avoid injury

When many people get injured, they tend to think it’s better to reduce their food intake in an attempt to balance the scaled back exercise. Energy actually increases proportionally during times of recovery from injury; this is not the time to under eat. Healing increases your energy demands, and thus, not supplying enough nutrients and energy can delay the recovery process. It is important to maintain adequate energy intakes with healthy foods and specific nutrients that promote healing.

California Prunes can contribute to meeting your overall energy intake and aid in the recovery process. Prunes will also help prevent further risk of injury by supporting bone health. California Prunes contain natural carbohydrates, which provide quality calories to support the energy demands. You can also combine California Prunes with a protein source, such as yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs or nuts/seeds to enhance muscle recovery, which together, are important nutrients for prevention and recovery from injury.

Another key component for healing is reducing the inflammation that occurs. The best nutrition compound that combats inflammation are antioxidants, which should also be included as part of the nutrition recovery plan. California Prunes contain antioxidants that can aid in that recovery. Just one serving of prunes per day can make all the difference throughout recovery and beyond.

For those who have a bone injury, or those looking to prevent fractures or other bone injuries, it is important to get enough nutrients that support bone building, such as vitamin D, calcium and vitamin K.  California Prunes contain 20% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin K and manganese, which together contribute to the bone building process. Combining California Prunes with other bone building foods may help support recovery and maintain bone strength over time.

Bottom line

With the right knowledge, support and patience, an injury can be overcome without turning your whole world upside down.

By taking things slow, eating the right foods, setting realistic goals and maintaining a positive, focused approach; most individuals can overcome minor injuries quickly, and more serious injuries in time.


  • Jami Boyd

    Jami is a Registered Physiotherapist and Certified Athletic Therapist based in Vancouver, BC with a Masters of Science (Applied) in Physical Therapy from McGill University and a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science (Athletic Therapy) from the University of Manitoba.

    Jami has an extensive background working in sport with her main focus on hockey.  Since 2009, she has been involved with Hockey Canada Women’s National Team Program as a Team Therapist.  In addition, Jami has attended Major Games including the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru and the 2020 Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne, Switzerland as a member of the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Core Medical Team.

    Lifelong learning is a priority for Jami and has led to her taking courses in Acupuncture, Dry Needling, K-tape, SFMA, McKenzie Method and Manual Therapy through the CPA Orthopedic Division.

    Professional Certifications
    • Registered Physiotherapist – MSc(A)PT – McGill University – 2011
    • Certified Athletic Therapist – BESS(AT) – University of Manitoba – 2005
    • Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist – NSCA – 2005

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