Continuing with our #perseveranceposts series, started earlier this month with Sarah’s injury recovery story, we thought it was time to share another’s unique injury recovery experience.
We hope that you enjoy reading Peyton’s interview about her experience with sports injury recovery, gain some perspective about injury recovery, and maybe even learn some new ways to motivate yourself and manage your recovery!
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Peyton, and I’m currently a student at the University of Pittsburgh. I will be a sophomore this upcoming fall and study marketing. I played lacrosse for a majority of my life. I began playing in fifth grade, and continued until my senior year of high school.
Please share your injury story.
During my freshman year of high school, it was the heart of lacrosse season and I began to have intense pains in both of my calves. I wasn’t sure what the pain was. I tried treatment such as compression socks, KT tape, customized shoes, and new types of stretching, but nothing helped. Eventually I met with my orthopedic surgeon, and he suggested that I get tested for compartment syndrome.
It turns out I had compartment syndrome in both of my legs. One way to relieve myself of the pressure in my legs was to have surgery, a fasciotomy. Late August, I had a bilateral fasciotomy to relieve the pressure in my muscles that was causing me so much pain. After the surgery, I went to physical therapy for three months. I had a lacrosse tournament in November that I wanted to be recovered for. I worked hard and was fully recovered and able to play in the tournament.
Unfortunately, only after two games, I took a bad turn, heard an awful pop, and fell to the ground. I went to the emergency room and was told that I tore my MCL. I left the tournament early, and a week later I got an MRI and met with my orthopedic surgeon yet again. Not only did I tear my MCL, I also tore my ACL. Two weeks later, I had patellar tendon ACL reconstruction surgery on my right knee, and was back at physical therapy.
This injury would take a lot longer than three months. I was expected to be out of lacrosse for at least seven months. I was unable to play that upcoming season, but worked hard and eventually recovered fully. I now am fully recovered from both injuries, and have no pain in either of my legs. I can again enjoy playing sports and do a lot of physical activity with no interference. The only evidence of injury is a couple of scars!
What types of things did you do for recovery?
For the compartment syndrome, surgery was not necessary. During a normal day of activities, I would only have slight pain in my claves, but any athletic activity would cause the pain to get much worse. I decided to have the bilateral fasciotomy so I could continue my lacrosse career and other sports. For the ACL injury, I did not have many options besides getting the surgery. I decided to do the patellar tendon ACL reconstruction over the hamstring ACL reconstruction.
What have you found to be most helpful during your recovery?
Physical therapy definitely helped me the most throughout my recovery process. The physical therapy center I went to, Revolution Physical Therapy, also doubled as a sports strengthening and training center. I enjoyed being in this kind of environment because many patients at this facility also had sports related injuries. Because I was there so often I formed bonds with many of the physical therapists, and felt very comfortable and independent. I got so close to one therapist, that I now babysit his kids!
What has been the worst part of being injured for you?
I was extremely disappointed to have to sit out of lacrosse season my sophomore year of high school, but my injury even made everyday tasks more difficult. Navigating around high school on crutches in the winter was especially difficult for me.
Are there any unexpected positives that have come out of your injury or injury recovery process?
One positive that actually came from these injuries was that I am now able to provide support and advice to other people with the same injuries. I like to help people with these types of injuries stay positive and let them know recovery may seem like it will be a long process, but if they put in the effort, they will be back on the field in no time.
What is your top tip for people recovering from physical pain or injuries?
Push yourself to the limit, but stay healthy. I wanted to recover in the shortest amount of time possible, so I would sometimes work myself too hard or do my exercises too quickly. I grew impatient and wanted to recover faster. I eventually realized that I needed to work hard, but not rush myself through the process. I was straining myself and was not giving my body time to heal. I realized throughout the recovery process that I needed to recover in a healthy and safe way, and accept that it would take time for my body to heal.
What is your top tip for staying motivated to recover?
When it came to staying motivated, I just looked to the future. At times I got tired of going to physical therapy and wanted to slack off, but I kept going because I had things I wanted to be recovered for in the future. I looked forward to summer activities, traveling, and playing lacrosse again, and wanted to experience those without crutches or a giant brace on my knee.
What did you do to stay optimistic about your injury recovery?
In order to stay positive, I surrounded myself with people who gave me constant support. Although I couldn’t play on the lacrosse team my sophomore year, I took statistics for the team and traveled with them to every game so I could still be around my teammates.
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