Updated: Apr 6
I'm lucky enough within my clinic to treat a diverse range of athletes, all with different sports and athletic profiles. Despite their differences, they all share one thing, injury! As athletes, we are all aware of the risks of injury, however, do we know the best steps to take once we suffer an injury?
Below I’ve outlined 5 key steps for all athletes to follow for a successful treatment and return to play following injury.
After suffering an injury, it is important to receive professional advice and support to ensure you take the correct steps moving forward. Whether that is seeing a physio, or going to the hospital for scans, receiving a diagnosis or reassurance regarding the injury can help direct you onto the right path and ensure you take the correct measures to prevent further damage or injury.
Follow a Plan and Receive the Necessary Treatment
After receiving the necessary assessment and advice, you need to follow a plan to ensure the quickest and safest recovery. This can range from receiving the necessary treatment, such as receiving surgery, to adhering to rehab protocols and performing prescribed exercises. Not only is following a professionally made plan important for allowing the injury to heal and restore function, but also important psychologically, helping keep you motivated and focused during what can be a difficult period.
Not only is nutrition important when you are training and competing at your maximal ability, its equally important to help promote recovery from injury. Ensuring sufficient calories and protein is essential to facilitate adaptations to strengthen around the injury site, as well as ensure the correct building blocks are in place to help rebuild the injured structure.
Return to Sport Clearance
Just because you are at the end of your rehabilitation, doesn’t necessarily mean you are ready to head straight back into full-intensity matches. As frustrating as they are, complications happen within rehabilitation, and it is important to ensure your body is in a position ready for the demands of training and matches. Progressive integration into training and matches are common with many injuries, especially long-term, and it is important to receive advice regarding this, passing the necessary protocols to facilitate a safe return. In addition to physical readiness, it’s imperative to ensure you psychologically feel ready to return to competitive play, with confidence in your technical and physical abilities, as well as confidence in your injury.
Injury Prevention and Education
With many injuries, the biggest risk factor is having a history of the current injury, so a key fundamental is becoming educated on your injury, as well as exercises and strategies to minimize1 the risk of re-injury. Whether it’s a few exercises to incorporate into your strength and conditioning program or a modification of aspects of your training regime or lifestyle, making small adjustments and additions to your routine can go a long way to keeping injury free.
If you have recently suffered from an Injury, and need help with any of these stages in recovery, don’t hesitate to get in contact and kickstart your return to sport!