Sports motivate people to push the limits of the human physique. However, aiming for better outcomes may sometimes result in sports injuries. It can only take a single fall or slip for trauma to occur.
Fortunately, there are established treatment and recovery methods for athletes’ most frequent injuries. Here are some things you need to know about sports injury recovery to help you get back on your feet.
Recovery Takes Time
Many sports injuries involve the musculoskeletal system. Common conditions include:
- Muscle tears
- Stretched tendons
- Sprained ligaments
For some types of trauma, orthopedic doctors usually prescribe home treatment and medications, followed by a period of rest.
However, some incidents, such as a severe ACL injury, require surgery for correction. Surgery can prolong the recovery period. Even minimally invasive procedures can delay your return to sports.
Physical Therapy Is An Integral Component Of Recovery
After your initial medical treatment, you can start rehabilitation and undergo physical therapy. Doing so allows you to:
- Restore proper motion
- Promote healing
- Reduce the risk of complications
You will work with physical therapists and athletic trainers to ensure you can safely and properly perform your exercises.
Recovery Involves Strength And Conditioning
Near the end of your rehabilitation period, you can start working on strength and conditioning. By this time, your treated joint or muscle should have healed sufficiently, so you can perform more intensive exercises. Workouts at this stage are designed to improve strength, endurance, and control.
You can continue to work on strength and conditioning for the duration of your recovery. Once you can perform basic activities, you can start with sports-specific development. A sports coach or an orthopedic specialist can devise and implement a specialized training plan for you to get back on track.
Recovery Is Not Linear
While the healing process seems linear, you should temper your expectations of a hassle-free recovery. Any orthopedic doctor will tell you that muscles and connective tissues heal at different rates. There will be days where progress may seem absent or going backward.
For someone used to heavy performance, the initial phases of rehabilitation might seem disappointing. For instance, being unable to run a mile when you’re used to competing in marathons is disheartening. However, trust the recovery process. You may just find yourself breaking your personal records after your recuperation.
The key is to stick with the prescribed plan until complete healing happens. Your orthopedic doctor, physical therapist, and physical trainers can reassure you of your progress and how much longer you have to go.
Your Return To Sports Involves Gradual Steps
Once you are strong enough to do daily tasks, you can follow a gradual process to return to sports. Step one is to focus on being able to return to school or work. You should spend some time resting at home. When you can, try light activities such as walking.
Afterward, you can focus on conditioning. Light aerobic activities such as light jogging can help increase your endurance and strengthen your cardiovascular system. You should aim to raise your heart rate while avoiding intense activities to prevent injuries.
Continuing with moderate activities can further build your cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength. You may consider short running or weightlifting with reduced loads. Heavy exercises such as high-intensity running should only be performed once you have recovered sufficiently.
Once your body conditioning is adequate, you can consider participating in contact sports again. With dedication, you can expect to eventually reach competition levels. During all these phases, consult with your orthopedic doctor to verify if your injury is healing properly and if you are ready for the next phase.
Sports Injury Recovery In St. Peters & O’Fallon, MO
Recovering from sports injuries can take some time, but don’t lose hope. Following a systematic approach can hasten your recovery and maximize your positive outcomes. To ensure you get quality treatment and recovery, see an experienced orthopedic doctor.
If you want to return to your sport fast, visit Advanced Bone & Joint today. Our sports medicine physicians, Dr. Brandon Larkin and Dr. Matthew Melander, can provide you with the quality care you deserve. They will be with you every step of the way—from diagnosis and treatment to rehabilitation and recovery.
We have two convenient locations in St. Charles County, Missouri. Feel free to call us at (636) 229-4222 to learn more about our services and schedule a consultation. You may also request an appointment online.
We look forward to aiding your return to sports!