Let’s face it, crutches suck. No matter how in shape you are or how high your pain tolerance is using crutches makes for a tiring and frustrating time. The pain isn’t the worst part. The worst part is feeling secluded from your daily routine and daily life. Even the simplest of tasks can be difficult or near impossible; and relying on friends and family members to help you do things is annoying and will really test your patience and theirs. So how do you stay positive during the crutch grind?
One major thing you can do is focus on the day and the moment instead of letting your mind wander to the things you can’t do or the things that you are being held back from. Appreciate that you are strong enough to crutch around and have a support system to help you cook and clean. But sometimes that’s not enough. Finding creative ways to inspire yourself on the crutch grind is a great alternative to letting your mind turn to negativity and sadness.
Danielle (the Instagram #crutchspiration winner!!) knows this feeling all too well. She has been through an intense journey with her knee injuries and surgeries.
“My name is Danielle. Back in 2014 I was a competitive dancer and I loved to practice at home. One day I decided to make a dance with my sister and my friend. I did a floor leap and my right knee popped out of place. It was the first time I ever injured myself. I went to physical therapy and then I got back to dancing around in January which was just in time to relearn my dances. In March, I was at the studio and I was in the middle of a routine. My left knee dislocated and I fell and it popped back in. I was out of dance for the season and competition was the following month. I did physical therapy and it kept popping out. A surgeon came in and told me I had to have surgery so we schedule it for December. I did the physical therapy after surgery and I was too scared to dance so I did tennis. I was in so much pain when I was playing tennis. So my doctor suggested I do physical therapy while the season is going. After the season was done I was in more pain. I went to see another doctor and when she saw my knee off the bat she said I needed another surgery. So recently I got a Tibial Tubercle Transfer to fix the position of my knee and another MPFL reconstruction because I tore the first one.”
Unfortunately misdiagnoses happen too often and young athletes are forced to make many crazy decisions regarding their knees. With so many different opinions it is hard for an athlete to feel comfortable with their options. This can affect the athletes mentally and physically. This is why it is so crucial to find positive ways to motivate you though out this awful process. Danielle decided that decorating her crutches would help her to focus on the positives during her recovery journey on crutches.
“I got the idea of decorating my crutches when I realized how long I was going to be on them. They are so plain and I always hated crutches so I thought they needed something. I looked up decorated crutches and I got the idea to make them sparkle because I like jewels. I added the pockets because my mom wouldn’t buy me some. The hardest part about being on crutches is definitely not being able to do what your friends can do. It was summer so you want to go in the pool and bike rides and everything, but since you are on crutches you can’t do any of that. The hardest part overall about my recovery is knowing I can’t play tennis my junior year of high school. That is the year that they start looking at you for college. I can’t even practice before the following season, so my senior year I have to just play the season without practicing over the summer. I’m afraid no college would want me. My best advice for anyone on crutches is be yourself. Crutches ruin the fun, but if you are going to be using them you should decorate them. I smile when people compliment me on my crutches it makes me feel better. It also takes the attention off of my injury! ;)”
By taking the focus off of her injury Danielle used her decorated crutches to inspire her and others. It allowed her to find a way to be herself even though she wasn’t able to participate in a lot of the fun activities that her friends were doing. By not allowing the injury and crutches to define her, Danielle used her decorated crutches to help maintain her self-identity throughout her recovery.
Congratulations to Danielle for finding ways to use #crutchspiration to keep her motivated and focused on positives despite her struggles. If you have your own crutchspiration story please send them to me to be shared!