Lessons from a Fall
Blog Post by Oran Aviv
As an avid trail runner, falling is sometimes just part of the experience. However, recently I had a particularly rough tumble. While out on a run, I tripped over a tree root and took a nasty spill, sliding down a rocky slope and suffering cuts and bruises to my hands and a banged-up knee.
Despite the less-than-ideal situation, I'm grateful for the opportunity to share with you what I learned from this experience. So, let's talk about what you can learn from a fall.
When I fell, I made the conscious decision to stay put. Despite my running buddies' concern and desire to help me up, I knew my body needed a few moments to recover from the shock of the fall. While I didn't feel like I had broken any bones or torn any muscles or ligaments, I needed to take a moment to mentally scan my body and assess any injuries.
If you happen to fall, resist the urge to jump right up and keep going. Instead, take a few minutes to rest and allow your body and mind to adjust. This will give you the opportunity to identify any potential injuries and determine the best course of action.
However, in the event of an accident, it's essential to avoid moving anyone unless absolutely necessary. Moving someone can cause further harm or exacerbate existing injuries. If the individual has a neck or spinal injury, for instance, movement could lead to paralysis or even death. If they've suffered a fracture or broken bone, attempting to move them could cause further damage and pain.
In any emergency, it's best to wait for trained medical professionals to arrive and assess the situation before attempting to move anyone.
First Aid for a Fall
Aside from the concern of injuring my knee on the rocky ground, I was particularly worried about the cuts on my hands, which could easily become infected if left untreated.
Thankfully, one of my running buddies had alcohol gel on hand to clean the wounds, and I had gauze in my pack that my friends used to help cover up the cuts. We used Band-Aids to secure the gauze in place.
It's important to have basic first aid supplies on hand for these kinds of emergencies. I recommend putting together a small kit in a zip-top bag that includes adhesive plasters, tape, an antiseptic spray or gel, and gauze.
My small first aid kit for trail running and hiking
It is crucial to double-check that your first aid kit is in your pack before heading out. In my case, I had forgotten to return my kit to my pack after our trek a few months ago to Bhutan. 🤦🏽♀️ Murphy’s Law striked again. 😂
It's also essential to periodically check the contents of your first aid kit, especially the adhesive plasters. Exposure to moisture, such as sweat, can cause the plasters to lose their adhesive properties and become ineffective.
Once my wounds were cleaned and bandaged, and my knee felt okay, I felt confident enough to continue running.
The Magic of Arnica
After bandaging my wounds, I took the homeopathic remedy Arnica to prevent bruising and alleviate pain.
Dr. Yvette Lever, a South African trained homeopath, has previously shared her advice on how to use homeopathy for better sleep and stomach upset.
According to Dr. Lever:
Arnica Montana is a commonly used homeopathic remedy for first aid situations to promote rapid healing and relieve pain after falls and other traumas. Arnica is effective in cases of actual bruising or a sensation of being bruised and sore, such as falls, sprains, strains, post childbirth, post-operative, and dental work. It also helps to relieve emotional shock after an injury, for example, after a child has fallen or an accident. Arnica is safe to use on babies, children, and animals.
A good basic potency is 30 C, and the dose should be repeated as necessary. If you are not familiar with using homeopathic remedies, it's best to consult a homeopath or dispensing pharmacy.
I have seen how arnica has prevented bruising and pain in myself, my family, and in my running friends. I do not go anywhere without homeopathic arnica. I always have arnica in my running or hiking packs, and I even carry a container of arnica 30c on my keychain!
I always have arnica with me - even on my key chain in this small blue container
Dr. Lever taught me that you can take arnica every hour if there is pain and to stop once you feel better. In extreme cases, you can take arnica every 15 minutes.
After my fall, I immediately took a dose of arnica 30C, three small globules under my tongue so that it enters quickly and directly into the bloodstream. It's important to shake the globules straight into the mouth and not touch them.
Although I was in pain after the fall, mainly where I had cut my hands, I took another dose of Arnica every time I felt the pain return, which was about every 15-20 minutes. Despite falling hard, I did not have any bruising on my hands, knee, and elbow, which I only discovered I had fallen on and cut after I returned home.
Despite the pain in my hands after the fall, I continued to run for 9 km (5.5 miles), taking extra care to slow down and remain cautious. However, I want to emphasize that if I had any doubts about the extent of my injury, I would not have continued running. Our health and well-being should always be our top priority.
After finishing our run, my friends and I stopped for coffee, and I drove home. I felt relieved that I escaped with only minor scratches and bumps, until I tried to step out of the car… The area around my knee was swollen and I couldn't bend my leg at all. While running, my lymphatic system helped move out the inflammation around my knee. However, as soon as I sat down and stopped moving, fluids accumulated in this area, causing pain and affecting movement.
Inflammation after an injury often seems like a paradox. On the one hand, inflammation is a natural response of the body's immune system to the damage caused by an injury. However, excessive inflammation can cause pain, affect movement, and even prevent healing.
It is important to remember that the pain is often caused by fluids pressing on our tissue, rather than the injury itself. Often, people think their injury is much worse because of the pain the inflammation is causing. If you experience pain or discomfort after an injury, consult your health professional to determine the cause.
One of the most effective ways to reduce inflammation is to elevate the injured area. I immediately lay down and elevated my leg, remaining in that position all day and night, only getting up to use the bathroom, which was difficult to walk to. However, this helped significantly. By the following morning, I was able to walk and go downstairs, albeit with some difficulty. I continued to elevate my leg on a chair while working, and each day showed improvement. By the fourth day, I was so excited to realize that I was able to go downstairs without any pain at all. It is amazing how easy it is for us to take our regular activities for granted until we suddenly can't do them anymore.
So if you have inflammation after an injury elevate the injured area.
As my knee injury was healing nicely, I had to keep a constant vigil on the cuts on my hands to make sure they didn’t get infected. I washed them gently with soap and water, which stung, and then applied an antibiotic cream and gauze for the first two days. At night, I used Irus' miracle cream, a herbal first aid cream that I always travel with, and which I'm convinced sped up the healing process.
Irus is a herbalist who insisted on creating the best first aid cream possible, despite everyone telling her it would be too expensive to sell. I've seen this cream heal burns and other skin issues, and it even kept my daughter from having to go to the emergency room after a hot water bottle burst on her leg.
After using Irus' cream every day and night on the cuts on my hand, I found that it really helped with the healing process. Just four days after the fall, I didn't need to wear gauze or Band-Aids on my cuts. This is Irus' first aid balm - I call it a "magic cream". These are tiny. 5ml is about 5gr. I hope her site is working. I haven't been in contact with her lately.
I won’t go into the gory details, but if you have every peeled you skin while using a peeler – or can imagine how horrible this is, that is what happened to me by the fall, and it was larger and deeper than anything I've ever experienced.
This is how that "peeled" area looks today, only a week after the injury!
It is an incredible feeling to see how quickly our body heals. If you find that your cuts take a long time to heal, it may be worth looking into ways to strengthen your immune system.
This is what I looked like after my fall and run. My left hand healed so quickly. 💜
In Summary, if you fall:
Stay where you are and assess you injuries
Clean wounds to prevent infection
Take homeopathic arnica
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