Protect, Prevent & Keep Moving: How to Return to Activity After an Injury
Whatever the case might be, you got injured, and it can be frustrating.
Whether it's an injured knee or wrist, injuries tend to limit your ability to do normal activities while you heal. Regardless if you've pulled, torn, broke or sprained a body part, there are a few steps to help you get back to activity once you're cleared from your doctor.
How to Return to Activity After an Injury
Ease into your activity. Whether it's been a week or many months away from your sport, allow your body to get back into it slowly. You might be “feeling up to” running a mile, but your muscles need to rebuild strength to get back to where you once were. Since your body was injured, be cautious and move slowly back into your activity.
Remember to take breaks as needed. Your goal is to strengthen the area that had been injured, not re-injure it. And, if you feel any pain, stop immediately.
Wear Supportive Gear
The type of injury you sustained will help you determine what kind of support you should wear. A brace or compression sleeve can help support the injured area and help prevent a re-injury. A brace can also help you manage any discomfort that you may encounter during activity. You can use our brace advisor to help you find which support can help you keep healthy.
Speak With Your Doctor on Ice and Heat Therapy
Ice therapy is known to help reduce swelling, and heat therapy helps warm the muscles and increase blood flow. Many times people reach for ice or heat to help prevent soreness, but before you begin icing or using heat therapy after activity, it's important to speak with your physician to make sure it's appropriate for the type of injury you sustained—and if it will help to prevent re-injury.
Set Small Goals
When getting back into activity, you may feel excited that you're finally able to move. But, before you go all in, set small goals to help you safely return to your activity level you were at before you got injured. Similar to moving slowly, setting goals will help you stay motivated and look forward to the activity. Example: If you used to run 5 miles daily, set a goal of 1 mile (maybe run/walk for the first week or two). Then once you can run 1 mile without experiencing discomfort, then set a new goal for 1.5 miles. Note, before setting goals, speak with your doctor or a professional on the best goal-setting program.
Go Easy on Yourself
Returning to your activity after experiencing an injury can be frustrating. It's important to take it easy and rest when you need to. However, keep in mind one way to help strengthen the injured area is to move it. So, take it easy and move with caution. Know it will take some time to get back to the level you were at before your injury.
Note: Check with your doctor for specific instructions on returning to your activity once you've recovered from your injury.
The contents of this blog were independently prepared, and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily indicative of the views of any other party. Individual results may vary depending on a variety of patient-specific attributes and related factors.