If you have an ankle sprain, a hamstring strain or any other type of injury that requires rehabilitation, it is important to follow a structured program. Many people make the mistake of returning to their sport too soon, which can lead to further injuries.
In this blog post, we will discuss the five phases of effective rehabilitation and how you can ensure that you make a successful return to your sport!
Don’t Lose Hope
When overcoming an injury, the most important part is not to lose hope and to trust the process. It is often a slow and gradual process, but if you stick to your rehabilitation program, you will see results!
Some of the most effective rehabilitation and recovery processes are protection and offloading, protected reloading and reconditioning, sport-specific strength, returning to sport, and preventing new injuries.
Phase One: Protection and Offloading
The first phase of rehabilitation is all about protecting the injured area and taking pressure off of it. This may involve wearing a brace or using crutches. In this stage you need to focus on giving the injury time to heal.
It is important to follow your doctor or physiotherapist’s instructions during this phase! Keep calm, as this can be a long and painful process, but if you allow your injury to heal properly during this phase, you will be on the road to recovery in no time.
For example, if you have an ankle sprain, you will need to keep weight off of your ankle and wear a brace or boot.
Phase Two: Protected Reloading and Reconditioning
The second phase of rehabilitation is about gradually reintroducing weight-bearing activities as your injury starts to heal. This may involve using exercise equipment such as an elliptical machine or a stationary bike.
These machines can help you to safely increase your activity level without putting too much strain on your injury. You should also start to add some light weight-bearing activities, such as walking or gentle jogging.
Again, it is important to listen to your doctor or physiotherapist during this phase and not push yourself too hard!
Phase Three: Sport Specific Strength, Conditioning and Skills
The third phase of rehabilitation is when you start to focus on getting back to your sport. This may involve doing specific exercises to improve your strength, agility and power. You should also start to do some sport-specific drills.
For example, if you are a runner, you might start doing some sprints or hill repeats. If you are a soccer player, you might start working on your ball skills. Research has shown that athletes who focus on sport-specific training in this phase are more likely to make a successful return to their sport.
The key to success in this phase is to steadily increase your effort while not overdoing it!
Phase Four: Return to Sport
The fourth phase of rehabilitation is when you can finally start to return to your sport. This may involve playing in practice games or doing scrimmages. You should also start to increase your training volume and intensity.
The key in this phase is to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard! In this phase, you need to be careful and not overdo it, as this can lead to further injuries. Some of the most common injuries in this phase are re-injuries, so it is important to be cautious!
The most common examples of this case are:
Pushing too hard too soon and getting injured again
Not training enough and getting injured because you are not in shape
You should also start to focus on injury prevention in this phase. This may involve doing specific exercises to prevent injuries or using certain devices, such as braces or tape.
Phase Five: Injury Prevention
The fifth and final phase of rehabilitation is injury prevention. This may involve doing exercises to improve your flexibility, balance and proprioception. It is also important to maintain a healthy weight and to warm up properly before exercise.
The most important moment of this phase is when you finally return to your sport and make a commitment to taking care of your body! If you take care of your body regularly, you can avoid injuries in the future.
Suffering from an injury can be a frustrating and difficult process. But if you follow these five phases of effective rehabilitation, you can make a successful return to your sport! Just remember to listen to your body, take things slowly and trust the process!