Late this April, Enduro Bites athlete Alex Grant went from Olympic hopeful to breaking his heel while racing the first XC MTB world cup in Cairns, Australia. He had surgery at the beginning of May to rearrange the 30-some pieces of his calcaneus — and now he’s on the road to recovery.
“You picked the wrong bone to break.” I have heard that from a few people, including my doctor, physical therapist, and various other people in the know. This is a rough one for sure, and to make it worse I have an extended time laid up right in the middle of racing season. I'm at week 5 of the prescribed 13 weeks non weight bearing on my right foot: no walking, standing, or even riding. With 2 months left, I wanted to share some things that are helping me get through it with the best possible outlook.
Keep it positive. This one is the hardest, especially at first, but also the most important. Positive thoughts and feelings will translate in to faster healing. The mental side is harder than the physical for sure, our bodies don’t know anything about disappointment, missed opportunity, or inconvenience. That is all upstairs. You just have to make the most of it and enjoy every day. No matter how bad you think you have it, it can always be worse.
Get mobile. I have two kinds of crutches, two different knee walkers, and a knee scooter. As soon as my pain allowed I was up doing as much as I could without overdoing it. Just being able to do normal stuff makes a huge difference. Being able to put on my peg leg and get my one-year-old daughter out of her crib every morning makes my days.
Ice cream heals. No need to say more. So does coffee. See number 1.
Don’t stress. This one is almost as hard as keeping it positive, and just as important. As a professional athlete the mere mention of 13 weeks of missed training in the heart of the season gave me anxiety, but I had to let it go and focus on resting, recovering, and healing. Knowing that I am willing to do the work needed to get back to where I was also helps to ease my mind.
Give yourself every chance to heal. In addition to the doctor’s orders, I have been utilizing some cutting edge healing techniques, including a bone health supplement and drinking Beta Red to increase tissue oxygenation. I have also been seeing Dr. Michael Cerami at Utah Sports and Wellness for some HBOT Oxygen Chamber treatments, as well as FSM (Frequency Specific Microcurrent) treatments. Both are excellent therapies and I can feel the improvements in pain and healing immediately. Dr. Cerami has a saying that I like: “We can’t control the outcome but we can control the effort.” So give yourself 100% effort and every chance to heal.
I should get my stitches out on this week, and once the incision is fully healed I am going to start getting more serious about rehab and PT. You may even find me on a hand cycle or in a lap pool. Stay tuned for some more updates!