We’d like to think that, after years of practicing this thing called yoga (and life), we would be able to avoid all injuries. However, the truth is, you can be ever so mindful and careful, but injuries still happen. You don’t even have to be doing anything intense. In fact, you might simply be rearranging things in your garage. *sigh*
It’s true. We are in the process of building a sweet home-based gym in our garage. My youngest has been making most of the purchases; I have mostly been contributing by providing him with the space to keep it. But, as the equipment has arrived, I have found it rather convenient to workout here at home. In doing so, I save a travel time and time at the gym waiting for the space, specific dumbbell or machine to free up. So, I began contributing by purchasing needed items myself.
It’s not as easy as one might think. My son said we needed some “DC blocks” so I purchased 2 of them to get us started. When they arrived, I realized the ones I’d bought were extra wide and not returnable. My second purchase was padded flooring. After many out of stock, backordered choices delaying this purchase, I finally landed on mat flooring that was in stock and soon delivered.
It was the day that we unrolled our gym flooring when my injury occurred. Being the independent (read: impatient) person that I am, I did most of the heavy lifting, shifting of equipment, unrolling, taping and replacing the equipment back on my own. I had most of it in place, with only the lighter dumb bells and DC blocks left to return to their newly-padded home. My son, who was finishing up a workout before heading off to work, would move the 90 lb adjustable dumb bells later that night. Although I can hold a 35 lb dumb bell in one hand, I used two hands to be extra careful. I’m not sure, but I think I hit the other dumb bell as I lifted the weight off the DC block. The weight in my hand tumbled and fell to the ground hitting the edge of the DC block on the way down. Unfortunately, the fingers of my right hand were not clear when the weight met the sharp, hard edge of the block and were smashed in the process. *sigh*
When Injuries Happen
Although the bruising and swelling did not develop right away, the discomfort pointed to something more than just soft tissue damage. X-rays and exam revealed an avulsion fracture of the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint in the 4th finger of my dominant hand. I have a little extension splint to wear for the next 4-8 weeks (or so) and am now learning how to modify the way I do things in my practice and my day-to-day life (i.e. left-handed mousing, brushing teeth, etc.)
Fortunately, I have seen a lot of students (myself included) adapting their practice as their injuries heal during my many years of practicing yoga. I took chatarangas, bakasana, down dog, etc. on my forearms loosely gasped a cloth diaper instead of interlocking my fingers for binds, and skipped poses during the first week.When the sports medicine doctor gave me the go-ahead for doing more “using good form” and “lighter” loads, I explored using yoga jellies to lift my hand and take pressure off of my fingertips. Even my strength workouts are different. I got a weight vest so I can continue to promote bone density maintanence without having to hold weights. I’m doing a bit more cardio than strength. I’m even learning to taking it easy on myself when I take a few extra rest days just because.
This injury could have been so much worse than it was. I am blessed to be able to adapt while the healing takes place.