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What’s the Best Way to Recover from a Sporting Injury?

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By Upstep Staff
a woman wearing a red sweater and a necklace
Edited by Taj Schlebusch

Published October 19, 2021.

What’s the best way to recover from a sporting injury?

The experience of many clinicians is that too much rest can make it far more challenging to get back to sport quickly due to the associated weakness that also occurs. For example, a tear to one of the foot's small muscles needs rest due to the pain.

However, as well as resting the damaged muscle, the other parts of the foot are also inactive, leading to an overall deconditioning of the body. The pain goes away, and off we go back to our favorite sport at the same intensity as we did before. The result is usually an injury to another part of the body, leading to more rest, more deconditioning, etc.

So, What Should We Be Doing?

The 1st thing is to get an accurate diagnosis of precisely what you have damaged. The treatment approach for a fracture will often necessitate rest, but more and more total immobilization is not prescribed as the repair process for the bone requires a degree of loading to make sure it heals strong enough to function back to normal.

The same approach is now being used with ligament, muscle, and tendon injuries. The research demonstrates that the correct loading of the damaged structure early in the rehabilitation process is essential for a full recovery. The problem is that this loading so early after an injury is often excruciating and therefore counterintuitive – the last thing you want to do is cause more damage, right?

So back to the take-home message, an accurate diagnosis is essential! Just being told you have pulled a muscle is not good enough, especially with the advances in medical technology, and a good clinician should be able to explain what they believe is damaged.

Sometimes a working diagnosis is needed due to the complexity of the human body, but a treatment plan should be built around it to ensure a successful recovery.