This year’s win by the European Team at the Ryder Cup has already been called one of the greatest sports comebacks. While the rest of us are not professional golfers, we still have to overcome our own adversities – namely our sports injuries. If you’ve ever been hurt workin’ out or playin’ sports, you know how difficult it can be to get back to peak condition. Here are the basics on getting over injury and back on the treadmill. Just remember that these are only tips, and you should always consult your physician when faced with injury.
– When To Return
This is unique to every athlete and every injury. Returning too soon can increase your risk of re-injury or developing a chronic problem that will lead to a longer recovery. Waiting too long, however, can lead to unnecessary deconditioning. Make sure your doctor agrees with your decision to return to training.
– Phases of Injury Recovery
During the early, important recovery phase you should be following the R.I.C.E. principles (rest, ice, compression and elevation), limiting your activity, and allowing yourself time to heal. Treatment may also include medical care, surgery, various taping, bracing, or physical therapy treatments.
While your injury heals try to maintain overall conditioning if possible. This aids in recovery time and can help to mitigate future injuries. Try alternate forms of training such as water running, swimming, cycling, rowing, or weight training of the non-injured parts.
Regaining range of motion and strength should be started as soon as possible as directed by your physician or therapist. Avoid movements that cause pain. Once muscle strength and flexibility return you can slowly get back into your sport, working at about 50 to 70 percent max capacity for a few weeks. During this re-entry phase, functional drills for balance, agility, and speed can be added as tolerated.
– Only Return To Exercising When
You are pain free and have no swelling. You have full range of motion and full or close to full strength (compare the injured part with the uninjured opposite side). Also, remember even when you feel 100 percent you may have deficits in strength, joint stability, flexibility, or skill. Take extra care with the injured part for several months.