Training with a disease like multiple sclerosis has its many challenges from extreme fatigue to lack of coordination. But one of the most troublesome symptoms is the lack of feeling and numbness in the extremities.

As each of us with MS suffers differently, as well as similarly, we all experience symptoms of some kind that make working out more difficult than it should be. And at times these symptoms can lead to workout injuries.

One of my worst symptoms…

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Since the onset of my diagnosis one of the worst things for me is the lack of feeling, tingling and numbness in the left side of my body which includes my hands and fingers.

Because of this consistent condition it has made holding dumbbells, weight plates or barbells almost impossible without the use of straps or without the help of my training partner/trainer. I am constantly concerned with sustaining an injury because of this situation that I make sure I always either have someone help me put the weight plates back on the rack or I use my right hand.

You notice I said “always”. That is a true statement…until now.

On Saturday, July 23

I was a bit more fatigued and MS brain fogged than usual and was finishing my second workout of the day which was calves. I was unloading the weight plates off the seated calf machine with my training partner when I forgot my “always” and I lifted the 45 lb weight plate off the machine with my LEFT hand.

Within seconds the weight slipped right out of my hand and directly onto my left foot, smashing that foot and big toe. Due to the lack of feeling in my foot the hit did not hurt but I could barely walk! When removing my shoe, my sock was filled with blood and I knew this was not good!

Now I have injured myself as I was just starting my training and dieting to stand on stage one last time with MS before I reach my 60th birthday. I had been extremely careful over the last eight years to not injure myself after the extreme pec tear I sustained in 2008 before my first competition with MS.

I learned a lesson, or so I thought, that MS makes injuries easier to suffer so I was careful not to do anything stupid again…until Saturday!

So now to the point…

How do I handle this and how should YOU handle a workout injury?

Injuries can not only be painful but they can weigh heavily on your emotions especially when you are in the middle of a goal you’ve set. I often speak and write about the importance of mental fitness as part of your fitness management program whether you are a healthy athlete or have MS or another chronic condition you are battling.

When an injury rears its ugly head, it’s time to step up your mental fitness to overcome the physical challenge. This time of healing has to become a time of reflection and not a time of depression. We have to all stay strong in our goals, despite the setback and delay in getting there, and remember why we are training and that this journey is a lifestyle.

We have to focus on the long term not the immediate situation, allow our bodies to recuperate and then hit it harder than ever when we are done healing.

injury from training

Yes, an injury from training is a terrible thing. I know. I am writing this as my foot is swollen and in pain, I can’t walk without help and I am still at the beginning stages of this wound. I battle the frustration of this hindrance and I keep replaying that stupid move of lifting the plate with my left hand.

But, even with all this going on and the painful penalties for my momentary foolishness, I have found the mental fitness to get past this moment in time.

If an injury becomes part of your fitness journey, you have to:

• stand strong mentally to overcome the physical

• use the time on hold to set a new goal or reset and continue the one you were focused on

• follow a healing plan that puts you back on track as soon as possible

• evaluate if you were pushing too hard or just not paying attention, like me, and do not repeat that mistake

Injuries are not something we want but they are often times a result of something going wrong in our workout. Stay positive, stand strong and never quit!

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