Rehabilitation is key to injury recovery and to the prevention of reinjury or further injury somewhere else along the chain. Rehabilitation is not just a case of complete this exercise 3 times per week, do 3 sets of 10 repetitions for three weeks and you’ll be “FIXED”!!
In order to properly prevent another injury occurring, rehabilitation must complete the following stages and must look elsewhere, not solely focusing on the injury site. The stages are as follows
The final stage is the most important and most commonly missed. In private practices this is when we are really trying to explain the benefit of continuing your treatment with us. YES! you no longer feel pain, YES! you are much stronger and more resilient than when we started but, NO! You are not yet ready for 80 minutes of rugby or to go back to your marathon training programme.
Immediately post injury, your recovery can begin. Don’t RICE it! Yes, you are right to try and PROTECT the injury (Police) but rest will cause stiffness and not help to reduce as much swelling as you could do with OPTIMAL LOADING (Police). This stage is essential to prevent as much loss of function as possible.
This stage focuses on restoring full range of motion (ROM), reducing swelling, reducing pain. Treatment may be key at this time but the basic rehab exercises between treatment supplement what we can do in the clinic. Your adherence to the programme at this stage is what determines how quickly you progress. The exercises may not be the most exciting but can still be a challenge. It is the opportunity to build muscular endurance for later stages. Don’t be expecting to do 10 reps here, more like 20+.
Here we are looking to increase strength and begin to focus in on the cause of the injury. By now, movement and almost full ROM should be possible. So we can now build the strength to prevent reinjury. Injury is often due to weakness or dysfunction elsewhere. For example, knees are stupid! Their injury is usually (in non-contact injuries) a result of weakness or improper movement at the hip, foot or ankle. The knee follows the example set by the joint above or below it. Our intermediate stage is what prevents re-injury at a later date and looks at what may have been the cause of the presenting injury. If we can correct this then we can progress to late stage rehab, the fun stuff!!
This is the more functional movements. Can you squat, lunge, jump, land, put weight through your arm, utilise that full ROM in your shoulder with load. Here is where you begin to see the benefit of the stages before and it is preparation for your next stage. If you can’t squat properly how are you meant to land when you go back to playing netball. If you can’t lunge how will you decelerate from your sprint. All of this in sport must be done without you thinking about it as there will be another influence of other players or a ball to deal with, not just thinking about is my knee facing the correct direction. Strength is built prior to this and here is where it becomes useful.
Are you ready to go back to doing your sport or activities? Here we test it and produce a maintenance programme to continue with. No 10 reps here either! We are building strength and power, that’s what you’ll need for injury prevention in your sport and that’s what we’ll mimic!!
If you have any questions about your rehabilitation for current or previous injuries then please get in contact. If you have a previous ACL injury that still isn’t right, that’s a bit of a speciality. So feel free to ask!
Thank you for reading!
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