Exercise: the Doorway to Injuries?

7 Sep

I often participate in exercise with gusto. Sometimes I take on a home project with the same enthusiasm. Home projects can be as good a workout as an hour at the gym.

Four-Hour Exercise Workout

For 15 years I’ve put up with wood folding doors that hide my washer and dryer where one side didn’t shut properly. Yesterday, the left side panel decided it had had enough and came out of the track from the above door jamb.  I thought this would be a simple fix. I had no idea it would be a four-hour exercise workout.

I looked for the easy solutions first: pushing the door back onto the track. That didn’t work. Tightening the screws at the top of the door that attached it to the track. That worked for a couple of seconds. Unhinging the hinges from the doors, studying the difference between the two doors, reattaching the hinges… nothing worked. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what was causing the door to not close properly.

Take a Break From Exercise

Finally, it hit me. I looked on top of the door and I knew then that one of the screws was stripped. (Thanks to me having seen the This Old House episode recently with the stripped door screw.) This meant that I had to take the entire door down which was made of two heavy panels. I unscrewed the hinges (again) and laid the panel with the stripped screw on the floor. By this time, my neck was hurting from always looking up. My shoulder was hurting from straining to screw and unscrew screws. So, I took a break.

Home Exercise Equipment Was Never Like This

I had my step ladder out and my Phillips screwdriver and a Flathead screwdriver.

Flathead Screwdriver

I had a large flashlight out because my hall light is out and I need an electrician for that problem. When I came back from my break and made holes in the door panel the old-fashioned way, with elbow grease, I realized that putting up the door and screwing together the two panels at the hinges was not going to be possible from standing on the outside of the doors. At least that’s what I thought at the time. I decided to climb on top of the washer and dryer. This was no small feat for a 5’8″ 170 lb person in such a cramped space, but that wasn’t going to stop me. I was a locomotive barreling down the track intent on getting the door back onto its own track by hook or by crook.

If The Foot Doesn’t Fit We Must Acquit

I was able to position myself on top of my dryer but I couldn’t squeeze my right foot inside the door. No matter, I was able to push the door panel into the slot with its new screw and new position that fit better against the door jamb than ever before! I had to climb down to get the other door panel to re-attach the hinges. This meant that I had to climb up on the washer and dryer again. Before I climbed up for the second time, I decided to shut the washer door which I had previously left open. I could have easily fallen in the first time. Wouldn’t that have been a sight! Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get out! (When I used to do kickboxing at home, my son would say he didn’t want to think about it because he pictured me falling and breaking a leg or something. Good thing he didn’t see me yesterday with my doors!)

Exercising at The Gym Pays Off

If I didn’t exercise at the gym, I’d never be able to lift these door panels. They were heavy and awkward because they were so long. I had a heck of a time trying to screw the hinges back in. The only positive in all this was that none of the screws were in so tight that I couldn’t get them out, even after all the years they were in there. It took some long arm reaching around the outside of the panel to get the panels to meet so I could re-attach the hinges. Lucky for me I have long arms.

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A Mystery is Afoot

After four hours of intense labor the job was complete. The door glided evenly with no resistance. The doors met in the center without buckling. Somehow I found the energy to make dinner.  I even cooked some chicken so that I could eat it tonight. I had my dinner, washed the dishes, and thought I must have stepped wrong somehow because my right foot started to hurt. The more I was on it, the more it hurt until the pain was getting to be too much. I still had to take a shower. I took my shower and that didn’t help my foot. I knew it was time for my frozen peas in the freezer. I save a bag of frozen peas to put on injuries to help reduce swelling. By this time it was 9:00 pm and I decided the best place for me was in bed with my peas; peas on my foot and not under my mattress for I was not feeling like a princess at this point. I was feeling more like her scullery maid.

I have no idea what I did to hurt my foot. This foot had suffered many previous injuries. It has an arthritic toe and metatarsalgia. It’s had a sprained ankle and plantar fasciitis. It has been viewed by many a doctor. I’ve been wearing an orthotic in the shoe of this foot for about two years. Clearly I shouldn’t have been climbing aboard washers, dryers, or lifting heavy doors for that matter. But who’s going to stop me?

Take Two Aspirin and Call Me in the Morning

I took two Advil and I kept my frozen peas on my foot for an hour while I lay in bed watching the TV. I wondered in a half doze how long this injury was going to last. Days? Weeks, Months? I thanked my lucky stars for going grocery shopping earlier in the day, pre-door hanging. I wondered if I would be able to sleep because I was in a lot of pain and couldn’t find a comfortable position. After an hour the pain subsided to my surprise. I set aside the peas and turned off the TV and quickly fell asleep. Around 2:00 am I awoke and fearfully set out to the bathroom. My foot hardly hurt. Was I dreaming? I got back to bed and fell asleep.

I stayed in bed until 10:00 am today not looking forward to putting any weight on my foot. I got dressed and walked to the kitchen. The pain was gone. I couldn’t believe it. How could that be possible? I haven’t exerted myself at all today and I’m not tempted to “try out” my foot to see what it can do.  Sitting at the computer is the perfect place for me.

Exercise and the  R.I.C.E Method

R.I.C.E. is a mnemonic to help you to remember how to treat soft tissue injuries.

R – Rest, get off your feet, don’t use the injured part.

I – Put ice on the injury. A bag of frozen peas works best; keep it in the freezer for immediate use.

C – Compression. Alternate compression with ice. For my injury, the bag of peas with my comforter on top was all the compression I could handle.

E – Elevate the injured part. Ideally, it should be elevated above your heart.

I’ve used the R.I.C.E. method before for injuries but typically didn’t have access to ice immediately when the injury occurred. This time was the exception. Apparently, timing of the R.I.C.E. method is of the essence! I’ve often used ice for times when I get  cooking burns and splatters and that works incredibly well for me. Ice may be another miracle worker.

I hope my story helps you to remember to use the R.I.C.E. method for soft tissue injuries. Thanks to Susan T’s Kitchen for her request for a post on sports injuries.

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9 Responses to “Exercise: the Doorway to Injuries?”

  1. Susan T's Kitchen September 9, 2012 at 2:40 am #

    Thanks for the RICE tip which I always forget to do when I get an injury…I am going to put some peas in the freezer to remind me of the this.

    • Marcella Rousseau September 9, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

      I know what you mean. I tend to forget to put ice on an injury too. I’m only good remembering the ice for burns. Or, I’ll put ice on an injury and then get up and do something or get involved in something and before you know it, hours have gone by. That’s not good! But, considering how fast I healed this last time, I am going to change my ways! It sure beats dragging it out over days when you don’t take proper care of it from the start. Some people use a bag of frozen rice. I tried that, I don’t like it as well as the peas. I can hardly feel the cold from the rice and the grains don’t hold the cold as well as the peas. It’s the swelling that causes a lot of the pain so, the sooner you use the ice and the more often, the more the swelling will go down. I can hardly believe how quickly I recovered this time. I’m really amazed. I’m glad you asked the question!

      • Susan T's Kitchen September 9, 2012 at 11:58 pm #

        I agree with you. I had a shoulder injury a while back, and paid for it dearly. If only I would have iced and relaxed. Didn’t …went on with my routines as if nothing happened until it got so bad I had to see the doc, and get cortizone injections and physical thereapy. I am not completely healed, but what you said and what I have read…if I had only would have iced it…and stopped my activies for a couple of days…

        • Marcella Rousseau September 10, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

          I’m so sorry to hear that. I have problems with my shoulders too. I went to see the doc and she said it was just inflamed and to take ibuprofen three at a time, 4 times a day. Well, my stomach took issue with that and it really messed up my digestive system. The end result was that I still have inflamed shoulders but my stomach is better. I put Aspercreme on my shoulders but I don’t do it often enough. The doc said if the ibuprofen didn’t work, to let her know and she would prescribe something but I never went back. I stopped doing all exercise that aggravated my shoulders. Some days are better than others. I’m glad you got this post. I guess it was just the other one that went astray.

  2. Life in the 50's and beyond... September 8, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    You have so much more perseverance than I do… I would have ripped the doors off and set them on fire!
    Love your frozen peas. Have you seen the movie “The Bridesmaids”? There is a scene where a lady takes a bag of frozen peas out of the freezer to apply to an injury… only she OPENS the bag of peas and just dumps them on. I thought I would die laughing.

    • Marcella Rousseau September 8, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

      You’re so funny. LOL! The way I saw it, I had 3 choices: remove the door and tuck it in between the wall and the dryer rendering it useless. THAT wasn’t going to happen. Or, call somebody to fix it which means I’d have to pay someone and thus have a total stranger in my house which I hate, so THAT wasn’t going to happen. Setting them on fire, now that never occurred to me. I’ll have to jot that down in the event of an emergency. Thanks!
      I don’t think I saw The Bridesmaids. Is that with Kristen what’s her name from SNL? I love her. I will definitely have to see that now. I read your comment about the peas twice and I cracked up both times. There must be something intrinsically funny about peas. I worry about forgetting that these are the peas I use and reuse for my injuries then mistakenly cook and eat them. Yuck! Thank you for commenting Ruth : – )

      • Susan T's Kitchen September 10, 2012 at 12:00 am #

        I am like you…I do not like to have strangers in the house so I will attempt to do it myself.

        • Marcella Rousseau September 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

          You know what? My post for someone else got posted to you. I’m not sure how that happened. I often respond to the yellow icon on the top right. Maybe I should stop doing that. I wonder where the post I wrote to you went!!

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  1. Top 7 Posts From My Blog « For Your Good Health - October 7, 2012

    [...] 7. Most Pride Worthy – Exercise: The Doorway to Injuries? [...]

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