I love the new Talk To Me Johnnie. I’m not sure if my question is web appropriate, but I broke my second metatarsal in my right foot all the way through, and I have stress fractures in my left foot and left tibia. Needless to say, I’m up shit’s creek. I know we always hear stories about pro athletes healing in just a few weeks or coming back from major injuries in hardly any time, so what’s the secret? I’m eating Paleo and drinking fish oil like it’s all powerful healing ambrosia. Some guys I train with are telling me if I take GH and deca durabolin that I would be healed in a month. My doc says it will take 6 weeks minimum provided I don’t need surgery to fix any tendons in my foot. I’ve found a few articles online promoting ultrasound machines to accelerate bone healing, but I don’t trust them because they’re also selling ultrasound machines so of course it’s the magic fix for everything. So, can you help me out? What do the pros do when they’re busted up?
Thanks John, I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge so openly.
Chad – A broken foot and stress factures in the leg are not good injuries to have for an active person. So here is the NFL secret to playing with injuries…anti-inflammatories, pain meds, a pre-game Toradal shot, a paycheck and a “fuck you” attitude. When someone starts paying you a big paycheck to complete your workout then I think it might be wise to go that route. Until then, take what I am about to say as loving advice…take a deep breath, pull your head out your ass and chill the fuck out. You are a young and if you don’t take some time to deal with this injuries and fix them up you will be dealing with them for years to come or worse. Like I said, when someone starts paying you to compete in the sport of fitness then we might have to re-visit this. First place in the Games wins $25,000 for completing 6-10 workouts in two days. In the NFL, $25,000 that would be good money for a 3-hour appearance signing autographs. When guys are making a million dollars for 3 hours of work once a week, shit starts to look different.
Now time for some dark stories from the NFL’s Tale from the Crypt, my friend Ed Cunningham injures his foot in training camp and they push him to start in a pre-season game, during the game he steps funny and breaks his foot in 25 pieces, ending his NFL career and really never able to run again. Ended his career in his first pre-season game!
In 2002, I shattered by left fibula in the season opener in Tennessee. The running back got tackled in my leg and my fibula gets shattered with his helmet. Duce Staley always had a hard head. I was casted for about a week, then they cut it off and started rehab. I played 5 weeks later. I played 13 weeks with a broken leg that season. I was cool because they doctor told me “you did not need that bone to play football, as it only is responsible for 10% of weight bearing”…seriously.
I did not practice and just played on Sundays. They did not run to my side during the game and did not ask me to run down field. I wore a massive shin guard and had a tape job on my ankle more akin to a caste then a taped ankle. My first week back against Tampa on Sunday night, I was named Player of the Game for my performance. During the week they gave me calcium supplements and used a machine called a Bone Stimulator to stimulate bone growth. The worst part came when the tissue started scarring down on the bone and they brought in a Rolfing specialist to break it up. Not sure if you are familiar with Rolfing but it is very painful. During week 10, we played Indy and I had a calve spasm in the second quarter and tore calve muscle; it rolled up lift a “Venetian Blind”. To stay in shape I ran in an underwater treadmill, used a muscle stimulator, ultra sound, and every modality they could throw at me. And I lifted heavy weights…image that. Do you know what finally healed the injury? Time. Time in the off-season after we lost in NFC Championship game. And even in 2003 I still felt the leg.
I would say keeping your nutrition dialed and loading up on fish oil and not aggravating the situation are your best bets. In my opinion most doctors are very conservative, but what does it matter? If it takes you 6-8 weeks to recover from the injury and surgery, how long will it take you get back to where you are? It is not like you are going to sit on your butt for 2 months eating donuts. This sounds better to me than rushing back, not letting it heal and then dealing with this for years to come. You could take the performance enhancers to promote healing, but then you have a whole new set of problems to deal with…not worth it. Bloated and bald with shriveled nuts makes dating awkward.
The reason most NFL players are messed up, if you know any ask them, is we play with injuries that most people couldn’t function with. Over time this takes a toll on your body and when you can’t do it anymore, someone cues the music and it fades to black. You are training to be fit and functional and because you are a competitive person the thought of taking time off is sickening. Injuries are inevitable, if you train hard, compete or lift heavy weights you are going to get hurt…you can’t control that. What you can control is how you rehab and at what rate you heal.
Remember, take a deep breath…remove head..and chill.
I’m pretty convinced I heard the great Kelly Starrett talking about rehabbing lower limbs by training the working leg and the adaption carrying to the damaged one.
Did I dream that?
Awesome video posting at the end. When asked if I like Pulp Fiction I generally give a luke warm answer, but that scene makes me think a little differently. Thanks.
Oh, and your advice seemed pretty solid as well.
John, do you happen to know if Ben and Jerry’s Chill the Fuck Out comes in Fat Free? Thanks for sharing your experiences. I remember playing a hockey tournament with a broken radial bone because it was crawling with college scouts. At the time, a coach who I looked to as a mentor at the time said to me, “it’s already broken, so it’s not like you can break it again.” I’m sure it’s nothing like playing with a broken fibula, but it was a stupid risk to take for 17 year old kid. What I lack in common sense I make up for in motivation and blind faith that coaches would be looking out for me.
Craig, you’re right, Kelly Starett has done a great series on “CrossFit Acute” where he talks about how to deal with acute injuries, and how and why to train around them.
Working on chilling the fuck out with patellar tendonitis in both knees. It sucks, but its definitely getting better…slowly. Every now and then something will re-aggravate it, but better it happens by accident (did you know that GHD back extensions are TERRIBLE for pat. tend.?? I do now!) than that I cripple myself to try to keep up with personal goals. Thanks for reinforcing my decision regarding my course of action, John!
I am having to do the same thing right now, and god does it suck! But I keep telling myself it’s for the best. Also, I had no clue about the GHD so I’ll stay away from them! How long have you been out? I am sitting at about 4 weeks right now an things are a little better but I feel like I have quite a way to go… Anyway good luck
[…] Take a deep breath […]
I’m stuck making up workouts to stay in shape, too. Luckily enough for you there are a lot of things you can do with your upper body. I’m rehabbing a shoulder, and it’s crazy how much we do that involves shoulders. Almost everything. Get creative, keep your head up, surround yourself with people who aren’t going to let you rush back, and heal. Keep up on the things you can do, and you’ll be back before you know it. Best of luck, brother. If you need help dreaming up things to do, ask the comments board. You may get a lot of smart-ass comments (Rose, C.Lake…me), but there’ll definitely be ones that’ll help. Don’t let this get ya down.
“If you’re not bleeding or throwing up, you’re not working out!”
Thanks for the encouragement. I have a friend who had to have his shoulder reconstructed. He played offensive line for IUP. One arm deadlifts and one arm KB swings, snatches, cleans, jerks, etc became the staples of his training for 6 months. I’ve been doing girl pushups because I’m a pretty pretty princess (on my knees, gotta protect the foot), bench presses, sitting military presses, curls (because I’m afraid of coming off the pullup bar wrong and landing on the bad foot), and just about every situp variation I can think of. Good luck with your shoulder, I hope it heals quickly for you.