How to rebuild strength after an injury
In this article, we reach out to Clinical Director and Physiotherapist of Physiologic Ryan Tan to talk about how to rebuild your strength after an injury.
Injuries are a part of life, especially in intense sports like Crossfit, Combat Sports and Weightlifting. The majority of what most Physiotherapists do is to help injured athletes get out of pain, but more importantly, how to rebuild the injured muscle/joint so that you can safely get back to performing at your highest level.
IMPORTANCE OF PROPER REHABILITATION
Generally speaking, the pain from most injuries will subside if you rested it for a period of at least 6 weeks. (6 weeks is a general timeline needed for the body to go through a basic healing process).
That’s if you literally did no rehabilitation and just rested the injured area.
However, overwhelming research studies have proven that you are twice as likely to re-injure yourself in the same area, after sustaining the initial injury.
Rebuilding your strength and having an active recovery process is crucial to minimise your chances of reinjury.
VR’s range of recovery products can be used effectively to help with rebuilding your strength, so you can return to your competitive best without worrying about your injury.
STRENGTH DEFICITS POST INJURY
In the acute (early) phase, there are a multitude of reasons why your strength will be reduced. We’ll outline some of the main reasons below
- Pain Inhibition. When the body is experiencing pain, it reduces the neural activity of the muscles surrounding the joint, leading to less muscular activation.
- An accumulation of fluid is a natural side effect of the healing process, however, it does have a tendency to reduce the activation of muscles surrounding the injured joint.
- Learned Disuse. Actively avoiding using or moving the injured joint will lead to ‘learned disuse’, where there will be muscular atrophy, but also a less sensation and ‘feeling’ to that area.
PRINCIPLES OF EARLY REHABILITATION
Modern Physiotherapy approaches will encourage athletes to adopt an accelerated active approach to their rehabilitation. That means moving what you can as early as possible. Here are some examples of how we can leverage the benefits of VR’s Recovery Tools to kickstart the process of rebuilding your strength after an injury.
- Use of VR’s Glute and Strength Bands for gentle muscle activation. Particularly helpful for lower limb injuries like knee and ankle sprains, banded side walks, bridges and hip thrusts are excellent to activate glute muscles that are low impact and usually well tolerated early in the rebuilding process.
- Foam Rolling will help improve your mobility, and an added benefit is that it will also help to stimulate sensory nerves around the injured joint. Better sensation will lead to improved proprioception and muscular activation.
- VR Kinesiology Tape can be applied to injured areas to help provide it with some extra support, proprioception and pain modulation. Commonly helpful with knee and achilles issues, Kinesiology Tape can be a very helpful tool early in the rebuilding stages to get you moving earlier than you normally would be able to.
SPORTS SPECIFIC INJURY REHABILITATION
Once you’re out of the painful, acute phase, VR’s Glute and Resistance Bands can provide a higher level of intensity when it comes to rebuilding your muscles.
With the guidance of a Physiotherapist, they can show you how to effectively target specific muscles using the bands, so that you can do your rehab program conveniently at home, or in the gym.
Once you have regained your isolated muscle strength, you should incorporate functional exercises that are related to your sport.
For example Crossfit athletes should be programmed to do strict pull ups when recovering from a shoulder injury, as that is a foundational movement you require before going back to kipping pull ups.
For the Combat Athlete, programming lots of weight bearing, ground based rehabilitation drills are paramount to rebuild the shoulders ability to absorb impact, and to develop power off the ground.
Don’t leave your recovery to chance. Keep active within your limits, guided by a Physiotherapist experienced in getting athletes back to performance.
Early rebuilding with the help of VR’s Recovery Products means you’ll be back competing at your highest level, feeling like you’ve never skipped a beat.