Old and current injuries as a risk for another injury.
By Tamar Simai and Yaheli Bet-Or
During the Maccabiah in 2017 the most common reason for seeking physiotherapy treatment was a flareup of an old injury that did not hold up to the increasing demand during the games or just prior to the games when the athletes were ramping up their training. These flare ups of old or current niggling injuries may impact your ability to perform at your best but may also limit your ability to prepare and train for the games in the weeks and month prior to the games. Most of us have experienced some degree of injury throughout our sporting career, whether it be a simple muscle strain or the long journey back after rupturing an ACL.
In the journey of returning to sport we often accept or understand that when tissue is injured whether it be bruised, torn, or fractured, it takes time to heal. This often means a period off training and competing. What is often missed is the deconditioning that our body goes through in that time frame, which can include but not limited to reduction in our endurance, strength, flexibility, and motor control, balance and more.
Let us take a sprained ankle for example, if you rolled your ankle and injured a ligament the accepted time frame of healing for an injured ligament is between 4-6 weeks depending on the severity of the injury. Apart from the joint stability, range of movement, balance, and proprioception you will need to restore your muscles back up to the strength and endurance they had prior to the injury. In our eagerness to “get back into it” these later stages of rehab are often neglected and an early return to sport may cause that ankle to reinjure or “play-up again” under increasing loads of training or competition. The current evidence is pointing towards the fact that if you rolled your ankle once you have a 40% likelihood of rolling it again and that percentage increases with each roll.
What can we do to reduce the risk of re-injury?
In preparation for coming out of lockdown, returning to sport and for the games we need to prepare our bodies and that entails giving a little extra attention to our past injuries to make sure they are up for the task.
Now we have the luxury of time, so use it to your advantage. If your injury was recent and you have just let your rehab program go, time to get back to it!
If you have a chronic injury that you may have neglected due to lockdown, lack of sport or simply because it is not causing you pain now, it is time to give it the attention it needs.
Ideally, return to the physio that has already treated the injury and go over your rehab exercises and a return to sport plan. Make sure your injured area has been accurately assessed for its strength, endurance, flexibility and is able to meet the sport specific demands. This can be assessed and by your physio, personal trainer, or even your coach (ideally the combination).
If you have any specific issues you would like to discuss or further questions regarding injury management, please email:
Tamar Simai email@example.com or
Yaheli Bet-Or firstname.lastname@example.org