Right now I am carrying no less than three injuries. I have ligament damage in my rt ankle and muscle trauma from a bad tackle in a competitive soccer game and nerve damage in my back from bad form overhead pressing. One injury sucks. Three on the other hand bring on unfounded depression and worry about ageing and retiring from sport. Its an absolute bitch!
"Man up!" you may say... a little physio and you'll be back on your proverbial and literal feet in no time. True, true... but one thing I can't recover from is the fact that with every injury, however much I listen to my physio and PRICE myself up, and meditate to gain patience, I return to activity too early. EVERY time.
Now I know it's not just me who has experienced this state of despair. Every single competitive athlete, ********ter, soccer player and ballerina I know has prolonged an injury by sneaking back on the training floor a little early to "test" their injured limb, only to cause further and often more chronic damage. I put this down to the nature of the athlete. Sport and activity is an essential ingredient in my life. Without it I am not the same person. I am irritable, lethargic, lacking confidence, moody... an all round pain in the butt. Exercise is like my drug and withdrawal is SO difficult that I will paradoxically risk further exclusion by going for an easy jog around the park while recovering from runners knee. DOH!
So what is to be done? After years of this, I have come up with three, "oh so obvious" rules for injury recovery. Obvious but difficult to follow:
No. 1 is to see a physio for EVERY injury, no matter how trivial you think it is, and see them as soon as possible. Physio's know their stuff and can help you manage an injury in the best possible way... from the off. Your ankle is the size of a balloon? They will find core stability issues that you can work on as the swelling subsides.
No. 2 is to tell the physio explicitly that you often return to activity too early. Factoring this in will help them to adjust your recovery period to take measures to ensure you don't do this again.
No.3 is the last and most difficult rule. Listen to your physio and do exactly what they say... EXACTLY. no crying, no complaining, no avoiding and no rebellion... get up in the morning. Do your rehab, do NOTHING more and be patient. This is where I fall down and no doubt you have too (It really helps if your physio is a bad ass that will kick your butt - still waiting to find one of those). Another wrong doing is to incorrectly interpret rehab exercises... ...e.g. I'm told: "do some balancing work for your ankle", I hear "pile 200lbs of weight on to your shoulders and hop on one leg until you pass out". Listen and follow orders exactly.
So there we have it. Follow these obvious and simple rules and you will recover as quickly as possible (obeying the PRICE rules below will also make a huge difference). I cannot express how important these rules are in recovering from injury as quickly as possible. The alternative is to end up like me: Immobile and bitter :)
Right, back to my rehab. Here is the infographic... (Not sure I believe that Ice Hockey has one of the lowest sports injury numbers though...)