We see many people who are frustrated with the speed in which they are progressing. They feel that they should be ready to return to their usual sports or activities right away without having to go through the healing and rehabilitation process.
It is important to remember that your body is trying to heal itself, but this is a process. Soft tissue healing, such as a moderate to severe sprain or strain, can take up to six weeks to recover. Bone fractures often take weeks to heal and after surgery many people have a combination of bone and soft tissue issues that have been surgically addressed and need to heal.
Here are some tips to help you through this process from verywellfit.com:
1. Learn about your injury. The more you know about the injury and healing process the more comfortable you will be when you experience pain, stiffness, or even frustration about how things are progressing. You may be ahead, behind or right on track of the typical healing process. By knowing what to expect you can reduce your anxiety about what lies ahead.
2. Accept responsibility for your rehabilitation. It is important to accept responsibility for your rehab program, because only you can control how well you will do with your rehab. While the physical therapist is important, without actively participating in your rehab, you are doomed for failure.
3. Maintain a positive attitude. Try to focus on what improvements you are making rather than your deficits or where you aren't progressing as quickly. You need to be realistic about your condition, but you also need to be optimistic about where you’re headed. Then, when you do see improvements, this will reinforce the behaviors you will need to continue.
4. Have good support. Try to surround yourself with friends, family members, physicians and therapists who will support and encourage you in your recovery. Besides the sense of support, these individuals will hold you accountable for your program.
5. Set appropriate goals. Discuss with your therapist a timeline and set goals along that timeline. This helps you objectively measure where you are at in your program. Ask your physician and physical therapist their expectations for your recovery as well.
6. Maintain your fitness level while injured. Work with your therapist to help establish a fitness routine that will not hinder your recovery from your current condition. Often times someone with a leg injury can aggressively work their upper body and core without having a negative impact on the recovery time for their leg. The same holds true for a hand injury in that you can work your legs more aggressively without hindering your recovery time. A higher level of fitness often helps improve your tolerance to perform various exercises as well as functional activities.
By: Steve Bartz, PT
Steve Bartz, PT