Suffering a sports injury can be a serious event. Especially for those who are pursuing competitive sports as a potential career, it's essential that you handle that injury recovery properly. The right rehabilitation can make all the difference in how you recover. Here's a look at what you can expect of the process as you recover from your injury and gradually get back on your feet.
Start With Protection And Rest
The first step of sports injury rehabilitation is to rest and protect the injured area. The goal is to allow the immediate inflammation and pain to settle down, which requires that you rest the injury. Further, you want to protect it from any further aggravation or injury, which means protecting it as well. Sometimes, that means using an air cast or brace to keep a knee or foot immobile. In other situations, it may mean relying on a sling to secure your arm.
Move To Gradual Conditioning
After the initial period of rest, the next step is gradual conditioning. You'll need to work with your rehabilitation therapist to start slowly using the affected area. This often starts with stretches and progresses to the use of light free weights or resistance bands. The point of this stage is to get the affected area accustomed to being used again. This helps to restore some of the general muscle tone and strength, which is a key step in returning to the sports field.
Start Sports-Specific Targeted Rehabilitation
Once you have completed some general conditioning activities, your rehabilitation specialist will start working on some specific tasks designed to help get the affected area ready for your return to your sport. This stage focuses as much on your whole body as it does on the injury. Your goal is to ensure that you have the endurance, strength, agility, redirection, and response abilities that you had before the injury. Sometimes this requires some gradual training and exercises to restore.
Receive Your Field Release
Completing all of the necessary recovery and rebuilding steps will help ensure that you get the clearance to return to the field. However, depending on the nature of your injury, you may be advised to return on a conditional basis. That means being gradual about your return to the field instead of jumping back into full competition right away. Make sure that you talk with your coaching staff about your rehabilitation specialist's instructions and heed their recommendations.
These are some of the most important things to think about when you're dealing with any kind of sports injury. Knowing what to expect of the rehabilitation process can take a lot of the uncertainty and frustration out of your recovery.