It was with this question: “Is there a sport after injury?”, We turned to the founder of the network of rehabilitation fitness studios FunBody Studio and the doctor in sports medicine and rehabilitation, Yevgeny Kadlubinsky. In this detailed article, he will tell you when and how to start recovering from an injury, what to consider and what to avoid during this period.
Every week injured athletes come to me, to whom ordinary trauma specialists say that sport is not compatible with this injury. In fact, I want to assure you that in 90% of injuries after proper rehabilitation, you can return to running and a full sports life.
What to do if you are injured while running
If you are injured, then in no case do not run immediately under the knife. It is worthwhile to agree to the operation only if you have a complete rupture of the structures (ligaments, tendons, meniscus, joint capsule). Unfortunately, most traumatologists are focused on operational problem solving. In 99% of cases of knee injury, they will offer arthroscopy. Such an operation extremely complicates further recovery and slows the return to the sport.
In case of injury, I recommend consulting a few specialists (rehab therapist and orthopedic surgeon) and choosing someone who is focused on conservative treatment, and not on surgical intervention. If there is not a complete rupture, but an tear of structures, then a competent doctor will tell you that conservative treatment is possible.
Recovery from running injury
Rehabilitation after surgery
According to European rehabilitation protocols, joint rehabilitation should begin on the first day after surgery. The sooner after the operation you begin active rehabilitation, the faster you will recover. Full restoration of the knee joint to a full return to the sport, according to European protocols, takes about a year. However, if an athlete is seriously determined to engage in active rehabilitation, and does it every day, then in 7 months you can fully restore the joint and return to the sport.
If it so happens that after the operation you did not find a rehabilitation doctor and did not immediately begin active rehabilitation, do not despair. Spend more time searching, because a competent rehabilitation doctor is the key to the success of your quick recovery.
It is important to understand that in the recovery process it is active rehabilitation that gives the maximum effect. Of course, the effectiveness increases if active rehabilitation is carried out in parallel with the passive. Passive rehabilitation is a complex of techniques, when the damaged structure is affected from the outside, while you are not doing anything, that is, you do not include muscles in the work. It can be massage, kinesiotherapy, osteoptia, physiotherapy, etc.
Passive rehabilitation without a combination with active is used exclusively at the acute stage of recovery, immediately after injury. Starting from the second, subacute stage of rehabilitation, the share of active rehabilitation should grow exponentially, since no external methods will replace our own muscle work.
Active rehabilitation is an independent exercise under the control and with the participation of a rehabilitation doctor. Once again, I emphasize that already before the operation you should know where and with whom you will undergo postoperative recovery. For reflection, you will have no more than three days, after which you will have to leave the hospital room and enter into the former rhythm of life on your own.
You need to understand that the exercises in pictures, issued to you by the on-duty rehabilitologist, will not help you quickly and most importantly to return to the previous form with high quality. Any work related to the restoration of the musculoskeletal system should be carried out under the watchful supervision of a competent rehabilitation doctor specializing in work with sports injuries. Timely active rehabilitation is the key to success!
How to build a rehabilitation process? After the operation, you get an extract and go to the rehabilitation doctor you choose. Further, the algorithm of actions is as follows: on the first visit, orthopedic testing is carried out, which allows for a complete picture of the problems of the joints (degree of joint weakness, muscular imbalance, ligamentous / cartilage / tendon congestion). A qualified rehabilitologist will make a complete picture with all the nuances. Based on the results of the diagnosis, an individual rehabilitation program is drawn up, the purpose of which is to fully return to the sport.
Any rehabilitation is divided into three stages:
Acute stage – postoperative stage. The main objectives of the acute stage: to remove swelling and inflammation, start work on improving blood flow, relieve pain and gradually begin to increase the amplitude of movement in the joint.
The subacute stage – during this period the task of moving the joint without pain is solved both during passive movements and during active, i.e. joint pain is completely eliminated with daily exertion (walking, riding in a car, resting state, etc.). The second task of the stage is the restoration of the amplitude of movement in the joint. The third task is the gradual preparation of the joint for active loads.
Adaptive stage – the stage at which the joint is directly prepared for active loads with the help of functional adaptive training. The purpose of this period is to prepare the joint not only for everyday life, but also for active sports loads, and ultimately to provide a full return to the sport. It is necessary to work the joint in such a way that it does not go into a state of arthrosis.
There is a pattern: if after the operation you have not completed the semi-annual rehabilitation cycle, then the probability of gradual destruction of the joint is high, which ultimately will lead to arthrosis and the need for joint replacement. Therefore, rehabilitation is often more important than the operation itself!
The next day after an injury that does not require surgery, it is necessary to begin active rehabilitation.This will allow you to return to the form as soon as possible.
It is the properly built rehabilitation process that is the key to a full and safe return to the sport. It is a mistake to assume that you can go to the fitness room with a list of recovery exercises that the doctor issued to you and carry them out with your trainer. Rehabilitation and fitness are far from each other.Work with damaged structures should be carried out exclusively under the supervision of a rehabilitation physician (sports medicine and rehabilitation physician).
There are four categories of exercises, but recovery is carried out exclusively in the first block:
- Medical exercises. The purpose of such exercises is to cure you. The rehabilitation doctor uses medical exercises in his work.
- Correctional exercises (Pilates and yoga), aimed at correcting posture. They will not help you repair a damaged joint.
- Fitness exercises, the purpose of which is to gain muscle mass or weight loss. They will not help you in the recovery phase after injury.
- Sports exercises aimed at improving sports results. They have absolutely nothing to do with recovery from injury.
- If you want to return to the sport after an injury, start working with a competent rehabilitator on an individual program and do not think that such a recovery is impossible! An experienced doctor will draw up a program not only on the basis of a statement of problematic, but also taking into account your posture, the root cause of injury, as well as other factors that could contribute to the further occurrence of injury. With active training and homework in six months you will be able to fully return to the sport.