A Physiotherapist’s Perspective: Training With an Injury
When there’s a sport you love, training is an important part of your life. It’s the rhythm of your week. It’s how you maintain fitness and social connection. It’s how you keep your stress level in check too.
So it can be really hard when an injury strikes. You’re not only in pain, but you’re also facing the prospect of missing out on the exercise and camaraderie that you love.
That’s why many people continue training despite an injury. It’s understandable. But is it wise?
What Should You Do When You’re Injured?
Generally speaking, it’s possible (and arguably best) to continue some form of exercise while you recover from an injury. That doesn’t mean carrying on as normal though. You’ll usually have to make some changes to improve your recovery.
1. Get Checked by a Doctor or Physiotherapist
If you’ve injured yourself training, then step 1 is to see your doctor or physiotherapist for a full examination and a proper diagnosis.
Every next step depends on this first one. You need to know whether you’re dealing with a minor sprain, a serious tear or something else entirely.
2. Get a Personalised Rehab Plan
Once a diagnosis has been made, your physio can develop a rehab program tailored to your needs that’ll help you to regain your strength without risking further injury.
Your rehab plan will take into account:
- The nature and severity of your injury
- Your usual training routine
- Your overall health and wellbeing.
It’s important to follow your rehab plan, even if it means going slower than you’d like. In fact, following the advice of a trained professional is the best way to improve your recovery. If you rush back to your normal training before your body is ready, you’re likely to aggravate your injury and be benched for longer.
3. Train Around Your Injury
Training around injury involves adjusting your fitness routine to work around specific injuries.
You nurture the injured area by doing the rehab exercises set by your physio. You keep the rest of you in good shape by training in ways that get your heart pumping but minimise movement in the injured area.
How to Stay Fit While Recovering From an Injury
It’s natural that an injured part of your body clamours for your attention. And, yes, you need to listen to that. But you also need to remember that every other bit of your body is strong and capable. There’s actually a lot you can do to stay fit while recovering from injury.
1. Cardiac Workouts With Injury
There are several ways to do a cardio workout with an injury.
Obviously, the best choice depends on which part of your body is affected. You’re seeking a form of exercise that gets your heart pumping while having only a low impact on the affected area.
You could try:
- Swimming – this is a great, low-impact cardio workout that suits many types of injuries
- Choose your stroke carefully to cater to any shoulder or neck injuries
- Swim using your arms only if you have a sore knee
- Pool walking/jogging – the water lessens the impact while also providing resistance
- Cycling – a good option if you’ve hurt your knee, ankle, elbow or shoulder
- Elliptical – minimises impact on your knees
- Treadmill or stepmill – gets your lower body moving without aggravating any upper body injuries.
2. Muscle Mirroring
Your limbs are used to working as a team. In rehab, you can possibly use this to your advantage by employing a technique called muscle mirroring.
A Canadian study found that exercising one wrist while the other is in a cast can help to preserve strength and muscle volume in the immobilised wrist.
Now, this was done on healthy volunteers who hadn’t really fractured their wrists but had just agreed to wear a cast for 4 weeks for the purpose of the study. But the results are intriguing. And you’ve really nothing to lose from doing some exercises on the uninjured side of your body to trigger those small involuntary muscle contractions on the hurting side.
3. Weight Training After Injury
Your muscles begin to reduce in size and strength if your activity levels drop due to injury.
Under your physio’s guidance, you can do some strength training on the affected area as part of your rehab. You’ll start with low weights or bodyweight only and then gradually build up from there.
Your physio will monitor your technique so that you’re working the right muscles at the right intensity.
How Can The Brisbane Spine Clinic Help?
Here at The Brisbane Spine Clinic, we treat many patients who are dealing with the pain and frustration of an injury that’s interrupted their training.
We get that. We know you want to be back in shape as soon as you can be. We also know what it takes to get you there.
We’ll examine you thoroughly and develop a tailored rehabilitation plan to help you achieve your recovery goals. Then we’ll provide a lot of support and encouragement to help you get there.
We’d love to help with your recovery so please make an appointment.
All information is general in nature. Patients should consider their own personal circumstances and seek a second opinion.