It can be tempting to play sports with an injury. Whether you sustained the injury during the game or on your own time, it is important to make sure your body is healed before you get back on the field. In a cultural movement away from the “play through it” mindset, trainers, physicians, and coaches all know that playing sports with an injury is dangerous. Not only can it make your injury worse, but it can keep you sidelined for much longer than if you had taken the time you needed initially. If you have recently sustained an injury, this is what you need to know before you get back in the game.
Get the Doctor’s Approval
Getting your doctor’s OK should be the first step before returning to sports. Even though you might think you are good to go, getting a second, professional opinion can help mitigate your risk for further injury. If you have been working with a physical therapist or other sports medicine professional, trust that they prioritize your safety and health. However, if you have not seen a physician after your injury, they might suggest physical therapy to aid in the recovery and strengthening of any serious injury you may have suffered. You shouldn’t return to any high-intensity activity until the pain, stiffness, and swelling have subsided and you are cleared by your medical team. Pushing yourself too hard or beginning to play before your body is ready can lead to more severe injuries, and prevent you from being able to play in the future.
Start Slow Once You Are Cleared
Jumping back into an intense physical exercise regime is a recipe for re-injury.When your physician or therapist clears you to play, they typically create a plan to ease you back into full strength. Most trainers agree that you should begin with 50% of your regular intensity and work back up from there. Each week, increase your intensity by about 10-15%. After each session, take note of how your injury is doing. If it is flaring up after your exercises, you should consider taking the necessary precautions to avoid further injury such as ice or heat therapy, warming up longer, and taking your time to cool down and stretch.
Listen to Your Body
The most important thing to remember when you are returning to sports is to listen to your body. A little bit of discomfort is okay. Anything more than that is not. If you feel searing, sharp, or intense pain, stop what you are doing. If the pain lasts for more than an hour after the activity, you may have overstepped your limits. Consult your doctor or trainer to formulate a plan for return that adjusts to what your body is telling you.
Find Sports Rehabilitation in Manhattan NYC
If you are looking for help with a sports injury, our medical technology can get you back on your feet the fastest. Physical therapy is all about strengthening your body to reduce pain and improve your physical well-being. Here at Theradynamics, getting you back in the game is our priority. To learn more, get in touch with us today or visit one of our Theradynamics locations in Queens, the Bronx, New Jersey, or Manhattan NYC for physical therapy.