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Injured Jockeys Fund News

The 'acute' phase of recovery!

The 'acute' phase of recovery!

by Sam Twiston-Davies |  23 Nov 2017

After a quiet day yesterday, I headed down to Oaksey House with a few of the lads today for a session with Dan Martin, who is the IJF’s in-house nutritionist at Jack Berry House, and who had come down to give us some guidance. 

It was eye-opening for us all.  I knew pretty much what I should be eating and that I should be taking on food very regularly, but not really why – so it was fascinating to learn that what I eat not only impacts on my weight, but helps me recover, and to have explained to us how the body actually works. 

Dan calls the ‘phase’ I am in the ‘acute phase’ and this basically means the phase immediately after the operation where all the focus whilst my arm is in plaster is getting rid of the swelling and at the same time, trying not to lose muscle whilst I am inactive.

During this phase to help get rid of the inflammation, I need an increased intake of Vitamin C as it is an antioxidant and helps get rid of free radicals – so he advised that I can get this via plenty of fruit and veg, plus some additional supplements.  I knew before that I should be taking some of these vitamins but not what they actually do!

To prevent muscle wastage in my arm, I also need a big intake of protein so plenty of meat and dairy based  foods – such as eggs, chicken and oily fish.  Protein helps the muscle stay intact and the best way to achieve this is to put the protein in every few hours.  It’s almost like not overloading it, just drip feeding it what it needs at different moments during the day.

Dan calculated that I should be taking in somewhere between 1680 to 1850 calories a day during this phase – which will mean my body can function, I can maintain my weight but also aid my repair. 

I also saw the physio team whilst I was at Oaksey and they advised me that whilst I can’t do any strenuous exercise whilst I’m recovering, there are some exercises I can do at home, such as squats and leg raises, that will still work my core.  So along with some gentle walking around the yard, that is what I shall be doing.

Once the plaster comes off, and once I’ve been x-rayed and the Doctors have given me the green light, I’ll then move into phase two of recovery which is all about repair, and I shall be speaking to Dan Martin again when we get to this stage. 

It was great to back at Oaksey and to feel that I’m now really moving forwards.  I learned loads today too! 

Writing this column is helping keep me occupied, and tomorrow I’ll now focus on the weekend’s racing, what horses are running and my Racing Post column on Saturday.

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