Rehabilitation after injury isn’t complex; it doesn’t have to be difficult!
This general process is what ANY clinician will try to follow for ANY injury at ANY part of the body. There are many different ways in which to complete this process however these simple 4 steps should see anyone through from injury to peak performance 💚
1) STOP the activity that is aggravating you! This will come with a period of de-load or complete offload to reduce the irritation. Often you can utilise simple things at home for initial treatment such as ice, heat, paracetamol or ibuprofen.
2) MOBILITY! Trying to regain pain free range of motion is your next stop on the rehab train 🚂. Think about what the normal movements are around the injured area and gently move within comfortable range until you have regain full range of motion. The most important thing is that when trying to regain range, you don’t push into pain as the body’s natural response will be to protect itself. This often presents in more irritation which could set you back into step 1.
3) STRENGTH! Aim to rebuild your strength and control around the injured area but also in general throughout your body. Starting with isometric exercises (muscle contraction with no movement), moving onto concentric (shortening muscle contraction), then to eccentric (muscle lengthening as it’s contracting). If a one sided injury, aim to equal injured to un-injured or return to previous figures achieved in the gym.
4) FUNCTION! Return to sport or function is where your hard work in the earlier steps starts to pay off and you can start to bring in the activity you enjoy. Initially you need to break down the movements and start exercises that are supported, controlled and predictable. As you progress, you begin to remove one of these aspects at a time so you can avoid changing too many variables at once. The final act to ensure you are back to performance is being able to complete the incident in which your injury occurred with full confidence and no issues.