Ask Alfonso: Recovering From A Knife Wound – How Soon Can I Train Again?
I recently read your post about working out with a hand injury. For the past 12 days, I’ve had three stitches in the web of my hand between my pointer finger and thumb. The cut was from a deep kitchen knife wound. It still isn’t fully healed. I still have the stitches in.
They should be ready to come out within the next couple of days but I’m getting varied feedback from doctors about the necessary recovery time before I can put my hand around anything and attempt an upper body workout.
I’m a 32 yr. old woman who’s been lifting weights for about 5 years. It isn’t easy to build or keep muscle as a woman. What can I do about my situation? I don’t want to lose my muscle. I am feeling hopeless and devastated right now. I can work through pain but not the inability to train my upper body.
Help me, please.
Hey Catesby how are you?
Ok listen take a deep breath and let it out slowly. When it comes to knowing and talking about injuries and the recovery process, I’m your man!
Over the last 20 years I’ve had hernia surgery, which required a seven-inch incision and Gortex mesh to be stitched into my abdomen. Next at age 24 I had major shoulder surgery to remove a bone spur, fix a torn rotator cuff and in general just clean up the joint. Just five years ago I suffered a traumatic spine injury, which also required a delicate procedure and I was basically paralyzed on my right side for nearly a year. And most recently, about a year ago, I had my left biceps surgically re-attached. So clearly I can relate.
Here’s the deal – in every one of these situations I felt exactly as you do right now. I too felt distraught and hopeless and like all of my hard work would disappear. Well Catesby I’m here to tell you this isn’t true! I had to take nearly a year off after neck surgery and I bounced right back. Most of what you feel is going to happen is in your head and truthfully even if you needed to rest your hand for a month or two, your body will remain very close to where it was. Are you going to lose a little? Yes maybe a bit but nothing significant. And don’t forget that just because you can’t use your hand doesn’t mean you can’t work out. Of course you can train legs, abs and a lot of core by using your elbows in place of hands. And leg exercises have been shown to help keep mass on the upper body because of the hormonal response it elicits.
Plus you can try throwing elbow strikes on a punching bag along with various kicks and there’s also isometric training – where you just flex and squeeze the heck out of the muscles. Trust me when I tell you holding contractions is really hard work and when done correctly will leave you breathless.
If you try to go back at it too soon you run the risk of delaying the time that it takes to fully heal, meaning it’ll be even longer before you’re back to 100%. It’s best to let your hand rest, fully heal and focus your program on other aspects. Try viewing this temporary setback as a way to improve other areas of your fitness program. Maybe start running 5k’s, work on your core and abs and build up your leg strength. You can always work around an injury. But I will give you this tip – be aware. And what I mean is to not let depression creep in and get you down. I’ve had this happen before and it leads to falling off the wagon completely. In my case after my biceps surgery I gained a lot of weight, ate way too much food to self soothe how I was feeling and truthfully didn’t take my own advice. If your activity level is lower then be mindful and change your diet to match your energy needs. Trust me when I tell you this injury is just a small part of your life in fitness and you will regain and even improve where you were prior.
Trust me – I’ve been there and I know.
Let me know how it goes and if any of you out there would like to book a more in-depth consultation with me – just drop me a line via the How To Book button in the sidebar.
And if you have a question – please just click here. I’d love to help you!
All information contained within this site, Angry Trainer Fitness.com, is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem – nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. No action should be taken solely on the contents of this website. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health or on any opinions expressed within this website. Please see your physician before changing your diet, starting an exercise program, or taking any supplements of any kind.
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