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It is often difficult to judge when the right time to get back to sport after injury is. Many athletes returning to sports too early experience re-injury. Also, increase the risk of their injury turning into a more chronic problem. On the other hand, leaving it too long to return to exercise and sport can lead to de-conditioning. Which in turn will also increase your risk of injury. To make the right decision, it is important to have your injury assessed and treated in the early phases of injury. Following this a graduated and guided rehabilitation program from your physiotherapist can help safely accelerate your return to your chosen sport. Your physiotherapist can help correct bad movement patterns and muscle imbalances. This may have developed due to injury, or possibly have caused the injury.
It is important you reduce swelling and inflammation when you are first injured. Also, normal range of motion in restored. During this acute period, it is very important to maintain overall conditioning while the injury heals, where possible. Lighter forms of exercises such as cycling, swimming, walking in water and using the cross trainer can be utilised.
Your rehabilitation should focus on regaining full strength of injured limb after swelling is gone and full motion is restored. Also other areas of the body, which contribute towards the stability and loading of the injured body part. Your physiotherapist is skilled in recognising key areas to strengthen in order to facilitate recovery and improve biomechanical efficiency. Strengthening is normally static/isometric in the early stages of rehab and progresses onto include dynamic resistive and plyometric type exercises.
Once it is felt that full strength and stability has returned to the injured area, sport specific training and functional drills can commence. This may vary from doing running drills incorporating change of direction, jumping, sudden acceleration and deceleration. Specific exercises to work on balance and agility can assist in improving neuromuscular control, which is vital in preventing re-injury.
Research has shown that maintaining a high level of physical conditioning cannot only prevent sports injury. But also decrease injury severity and speed recovery. Continuing to train during the off season, and not jumping straight back into your normal training regime after a long break or holiday also assists in preventing injury and aiding recovery.
If you have been experiencing a recurring injury or need help rehabilitating a recent injury, our physiotherapists can help by performing a detailed assessment, treating the problem and guiding you through a tailored rehabilitation program. To make an appointment, contact us here.