Returning from Injury
When can I start training again?
How to I decide when is the right time to go back?
What if I'm not ready?
Here's some tips for planning your rehab process. Ideally work with your physiotherapist to make sure you stay on track with a safe return to sport or function, but if you are managing your injury yourself there are some things that can help to keep you focused and motivated.
1. Set yourself goals for your recovery at the beginning. Make them Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, Timed (SMART) so that you have regular benchmarks to measure your progress against. This is essential for keeping you positive and motivated to keep going with your rehab during the frustrating times.
2. Talk to your coach, teammates, work colleagues, club members etc about staying involved in a different way while you're recovering. This could mean doing your rehab exercises and drills during a usual training session or in the gym while practice is taking place so you can still socialise before or after the session, being part of the coaching team for a while or mentoring other colleagues. This will help to make you feel like you're still part of the team and keep you in the loop, which can be a real morale boost and avoid isolation during injury time.
3. Address your inner worries about what your injury means for you. Wondering whether your performance will be affected when you return, whether you will still get a place on the team, if you will be at risk of injuring yourself again are all normal concerns when you've sustained an injury. Other types of practice such as mindfulness, meditation, relaxation can help you cope better with managing stress and anxiety.
4. Seek alternative forms of exercise that are safe for you to practise while injured. Your Physiotherapist willing be able to provide you with options that will not compromise your recovery but keep you feeling fit. For many, being active is the way in which we manage other life stresses and it can be difficult to give up exercise all together. Adapting your training programme to include alternative forms of training can have many long-term positives such as improving your performance or skills in your preferred sport or occupation, finding another type of exercise that you love, meeting a new group of people or addressing some of the weaknesses that led to your injury occurring in the first place.
Although there is lots you can do to help yourself during the recovery period, you are likely to progress quicker and more effectively with a professional in your corner. Seek the advice of a physiotherapist for a proper diagnosis and to understand why your injury may have occurred and if there is anything you could do to reduce the risk of it happening again. Returning to sport, exercise and function before you're ready is the leading cause of re-injury