How to Return from Injury as Quickly as Possible — Education

10 September 2013
Comments: Comments Off on How to Return from Injury as Quickly as Possible — Education

Tags: , , , , , , ,

How to Return from Injury as Quickly as Possible — Education

A short while ago, we introduced you to the idea of returning from injury as quickly as possible. We noted that some athletes return more quickly than others and wondered what mental and physical factors needed to occur for a quick, but safe return.

Well, to answer this question, let’s start at the top. When you’ve experienced an injury, the first step is to understand what happened and what you are dealing with.

In the age of Google, it seems as if the immediate response to any inquiry begins with typing a question into a search engine. Search terms such as “Why did I injure my hamstring,” “Foot pain,” and “Have I torn my ACL,” provide a wide variety of results, some decent and some not so much. It is imperative, when you think you’re injured to consult your healthcare provider. Searching Google might lead you in the right direction but you are also just as likely to come to drastically wrong conclusions about your situation.

Understanding your injury goes far beyond looking at an anatomical model or knowing where you are hurting. Athletes should be pursuing as much information possible from their physician, physical therapist or certified athletic trainer.

Here are a few things to ask your licensed healthcare provider in the wake of an injury:

How did my injury come about?

Did it happen in training? Did it occur during warm ups before a game? Perhaps it happened in the middle of the first half? Knowing the immediate sources behind an injury is helpful in order to analyze and diagnose the point where everything went wrong.

It’s possible your injury occurred in a fluke incident, whether by a blindside hit, a poorly thrown pass, or an aggressive foul. Even still, you have the opportunity to ponder the event and set a strategy to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Is there something that made me more susceptible to this injury?

Maybe your movements contributed to stress on the injured area. Without knowing the reason for your injury, you face the likelihood of reinjury later.

Perhaps your stretching and warm-up patterns contributed to your injury either by warming up the wrong muscles or adding too much stress in a static stretch before activity.

Understanding the processes leading up to the injury gives ample evidence not only in the rehabilitation process but also to ensure it doesn’t become a recurring issue once you’ve recovered.

What is the course of rehabilitation?

Just as it is important to understand the course of events before an injury, it is equally important to know the process after the injury. What actions need to be done on a daily basis? Weekly? How often do you need to be in physical therapy? When is it a good time to start pushing yourself a little bit more? What sort of nutrition helps with the process?

If you have a map of the process, you’ll know what to expect and you’ll have clearly defined goals to work toward as you rehab.

How long do you think it will take to recover?

Much like knowing the course of rehabilitation, the timeline to full recovery is important for you, not only to set expectations, but also to have a goal on the calendar in bold ink. The timeline works as a motivating factor and a goal to work against. Your competitive juices can zero in on the date and give you something to look forward to when you are facing week after week of recovery exercises.

What can I do at home to help with the recovery process?

Rehabilitation is much more than a weekly visit to the physical therapist. There are exercises, nutritional goals, and a mental component you can constantly work toward. Part of your injury rehabilitation is up to you and the amount of work you can put in at home.

To recovery quickly, it is important to know what it takes in the clinic and at home. So ask the question!

How will rehab help my injury?

This question is a big one. The answer gives you clarity and allows you to see the forest through the trees. Somedays it can be hard to think about the big picture, but your physical therapist has the big picture and is more than willing to spell it out for you. Don’t get to a point where you feel your work is useless as you wait for your body to heal. Ask about the process; seek to understand why your physical therapist has chosen a specific task. Your work will pay off and your therapist can keep you encouraged during the process.

Just the Start

These are by no means all the questions you should ask, but just a few questions to get a clearer picture of your injury. Depending on the answers, many more questions will arise for you to better understand your circumstances. As you can see, the more information that you know about your injury, the better you are able to assist in the healing process and return to your sport more quickly.

Education is important to injury rehabilitation and it goes much farther than a simple Google search. Your physical therapist can help you better understand your body to ensure a preventative approach for next time around, and a quick rehabilitation for the current injury. But, the first step is to know as much as possible. Without this step, you’re lost in a sea of repetitions while your teammates continue to play the game they love. Don’t let that be you!