BACK TO SPORTS AFTER AN INJURY

Last week Dr. Daniela Walsh discussed the most common running injuries. It’s summer time and we all know that you guys want to get back on your feet as soon as possible. Look inside for helpful tips to see if your body is ready to get back to exercising after injury!

Physiotherapy photos

It’s summer time and I’ve been seeing many patients eagerly looking forward to getting back outside again and resuming the activity that makes their heart race in more ways than one.

Whatever your sport may be, if you are on the mend from an injury, here are some useful tips to be sure you are ready to pick up where you left off.

Clear it with your medical team. If you had an injury that was significant enough to see a doctor and/or rehabilitation specialist, be sure to check in with them. Their knowledge of your injury and “tissue healing” is very helpful in determining if the structures will be strong enough to endure return to sport.

Your body is still healing. Generally speaking, your body lays down a patchwork of scar tissue in the first 6 WEEKS after an injury—a very delicate period of healing. Then, for tissues such as muscle/bone, your body will continue to rehabilitate that same tissue for 1 year and slightly beyond. This process is even longer for nerve and brain tissue. So be sure to listen to your body.

Range of motion and strength restored. You should be able to perform all your daily activities without feeling restriction or weakness from your injured area.

Body weight testing. If your upper body was injured, you should be able to balance in a push-­-up position and tolerate an equal number of push—ups as before you were injured. For your lower body, standing on the injured limb for 20 seconds should be as balanced as the uninjured limb. Then, standing the injured leg, try bringing the opposite limb forward/back/left/right 10 times in each direction. This should feel equal on both sides.

Hopping. For lower extremity injuries, you should feel comfortable hopping on that limb. Do not try unless you are cleared by your medical professional.

Resume your sport gradually. Slowly build up general endurance, and sport specific drill from one to two days per week to your normal frequency. Then continue to build 1. Intensity,  2. Frequency, 3. Duration. Finally, start to be active non—competitively with others and then return to a competitive level.

 

Reference:  Plinsky, 2013 GLATA
The opinion expressed in this column is not intended as a substitute for medical professional direction, but is to be used for informational purposes only. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem.

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