A sidelining injury: it is what professional and amateur athletes fear most. However, with the right sports medicine treatments, you can return to play, equipped with strategies to stay focused and encouraged. Here are the best recommendations from sports medicine physicians to help injured athletes get back to the sport or activity they enjoy most.
1. Get Your Injury Evaluated and Treated Right Away
Whether you twisted an ankle, hyperextended your knee, or fell hard on your hand and wrist, do not use a “wait and see” approach to medical evaluation and treatment. While first aid interventions such as rest, ice, compression, and elevation provide comfort and an element of stabilization, persistent symptoms require professional evaluation and intervention.
Waiting on an acute injury or worse, playing through the pain, only worsens the condition and lessens the chances of a safe and complete recovery.
For quick evaluation and stabilization of mild to moderate injuries, it is best to visit your local orthopedic and sports medicine clinic. However, severe, or life-threatening injuries would be best handled at your nearest hospital ER.
2. Follow Your Treatment And Rehabilitation Plan
Your sports medicine doctor will formulate your plan of care based on your overall health, nature of your injury, the sport you play, your age, gender, and other factors. Once it is in place, follow that plan carefully, keeping in mind that recovery from sports injuries–even if you do not need surgery– takes time, patience and a lot of work and persistence on your part. Do your onsite therapies diligently and be sure to follow all your therapist’s instructions for at-home exercises.
3. Be Patient and Determined
Experts and researchers in the field of sports medicine affirm positivity as key to successful rehabilitation and return to play. Exert patience and be determined in your will that every treatment and exercise you perform brings you one step closer to the strength, endurance, balance, coordination, and skill you had before your injury.
4. Monitor Your Symptoms and Successes
Keep a journal of your level of pain, stiffness, swelling and other symptoms. Note what movements help your injury feel better and what may hinder healing or wellness. Be sure to note signs of improvement, too.
Share your written observations with your sports medicine doctor, physical therapist, and trainer or coach. Clear communication about what does and does not work helps your team adjust your plan of rehabilitation and avoids treatment modalities which produce negative or no results.
5. Train Differently and Safely
Your professional sports medicine team can show you ways to train safely and to avoid re-injury or new injuries. Take their advice about protective equipment, taping, proper footwear, aquatic therapy and more. They will also teach you exercise variations, including how to take stress and strain off injured joints, and even using lighter weight and fewer repetitions to achieve the same maximum benefit.
6. Eat Well and Get Rest
Adequate rest, hydration, and nutrition help your body heal and rebuild strength and endurance. Ask your sports medicine doctor about vitamins and supplements which can optimize tissue regrowth and flexibility.
Your Sports Medicine Team in Wentzville, MO
At Advanced Bone & Joint, our expert team of sports medicine professionals is headed by Dr. Brandon Larkin and Dr. Matthew Melander. Board-certified in orthopedics with subspecialty training in sports medicine, Dr. Larkin and Dr. Melander are skilled in the effective diagnosis and treatment of sports-related injuries.
Call us today at (636) 229-4222 or schedule a visit online. We are located in Wentzville, St. Peters, and O’Fallon, MO. Let us help you get fit and active again.