Injury Recovery First Principles

TikTok recently served up to me one influencer’s explanation of why a solid physique confers high status. Physical fitness, he said, tells you a lot about a person’s character. A fit person is consistent, tenacious, and has high standards.

To this impressive list, I’d also add: a person in good condition is a relentless problem solver. You can’t maintain a high level of fitness without figuring out how to manage injuries.

I recently suffered a heel fat pad injury due to too much barefoot banging while jumping rope. After violating my own 2x rule (every week you train through injury doubles your recovery time), it’s time to get serious. I’ve turned to injury recovery first principles.

For starters, you need to become your own doctor. In this week’s sign of the medical apocalypse, Science magazine published a dense article about how vast numbers of medical research papers are fake, either made up or plagiarized. This piece is just the latest on the spreading rot. A 2021 analysis found that at least 20 percent of reported clinical trials never happened. The great Dr. John Ioannidis wrote in his famous 2005 essay that it’s more likely that published research findings are wrong than right. It’s all literally bullshit.

Second, Google is useless when it comes to sports injuries. Page after page of search results unanimously promote the RICE protocol (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). As a reminder, the doctor who invented the practice of icing injuries, Dr. Gabe Mirkin, later repudiated his own creation because inflammation is a critical part of the healing process. Like masks and margarine, RICE is another zombie intervention we’ll be stuck with for 100 years.

Third, a good rule of thumb when it comes to self-treatment is to just do the opposite of mainstream medical advice. Here’s my strategy for my heel:

  • I use a heating pad (instead of ice) to encourage blood flow and delivery of healing factors;
  • I take a natural pain reliever (in this case bromelain) instead of harsher NSAIDs;
  • I engage in strengthening activities with a ToePro, rather than slide into rest and inactivity. Heel pain and plantar fasciitis can present in a similar way, and fortifying the structures of the foot is only helpful in all circumstances.

As an experiment, I am also applying arnica cream to my heel to see if this homeopathic treatment for bruising could work on my contusion injury. In addition, I’m trying different heel cushion inserts to see if any provide enough temporary relief to facilitate healing. I am wary of certain interests that promote permanent orthotics, rather than treating the root cause.

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