Brooke Shields Undergoes Physical Therapy Following a Fractured Femur

Brooke Shields is recovering from a terrible leg injury and staph infection and making breakthroughs in physical therapy.

“I’m on another plateau,” the 55-year-old actress tells PEOPLE of her recovery process when we caught up with the star for her partnership with EltaMD. “I’m now with no crutches and no cane, and I’m starting to work out again. But… there’s bone soreness, and there’s a lot of weakness.”

“I’m able to stand on that leg fully and balance, and I’m getting all of that back and just kinetically getting more connected again and re-educating all of my muscles to fire appropriately again,” she says.

“It’s been a lot of work, though,” she continues. “You really have to do it every day, and you have to have a mindset because it can be very frustrating.”

The actress has realized that the healing process is lengthy and that she must exercise patience.

“I now know that, okay, it’s going to take a while for me to be able to fully be as strong as I used to be,” she says. “But every day, it’s a little bit better, and I’m beginning each day to start fresh.”

Shields compares her leg’s healing process to eight years ago to the discovery of a precancerous lesion on her skin that required removal. Her injury appeared insurmountable at times, but she has gradually improved.

With sun damage, “You get really frustrated because it’s considered damaged, and you think, ‘Oh, I’ve already done it,’ but it’s never too late to start protecting your skin,” she explains.

After that incident, the mother of two learned to be “vigilant” about applying sunscreen and caring for her skin.

“That was just a very scary diagnosis, and the fact that it had to be actually cut out of my lip is a terrifying situation to find yourself in,” she says. “That’s when I started incorporating [sunscreen] into my daily routine, not just bringing it with me on vacation or in the summer.”

Shield highlights that “preemptive, preventative” care for your skin “is really important.”