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"5 Essential Tips for Successful Injury Rehabilitation"

Updated: Apr 14

Injuries are a topic not many of us like to divulge but we’ve been there. I'm sure you've heard this question before many times; Coach, what’s the best way to fix my injury?

In this era of injury rehabilitation, scientific research advancements have made it easier to assess, prescribe and predict the length of time it will take to repair a joint or muscular skeletal injury.

What we forget to really speak about are the processes of returning from those injuries and preventing them from happening again in the future.

So in this article, I’ll give you the answers to starting your rehab effectively and aid you in staying consistently game day ready.

The best case scenario

In recent months I’ve spent a lot of time rethinking and reshaping my thought process when it comes to rehab and recovery strategies. I thought what better way than to ask an athlete I’ve been working with what it meant to them?

Question: “What has your rehab process felt like, what do you think would have happened if you didn’t have one in place?”

Athletes answer: “The process has felt like a mixed bag mentally. But physically in general, I think it's gone in the right direction but could have gone completely different had I not had the right people around me and the funds for private physio. If I didn't have them in place I don't think I'd be training the way I am or playing rugby for that matter and I think it'd most likely still be struggling big time with the simple/basic movements".

This is just one scenario of many and from this, I’m sure your brain is now starting to ask all sorts of questions….. Yes?

What are the common themes?

Let's talk about the most common ones in rugby ie; ankle sprains, hamstrings, shoulders, ACL, MCL, or Achilles.

Any injury ordinarily speaking has its own severity levels, from a slight ankle sprain or rotator cuff they all require a medical assessment to see what it is needed in terms of the desired prescription to treat it.

Are there any specific timeframes ?

The blunt answer is yes there are specific timeframes to work towards but they need to be agreed upon with your coach and medical physician!

We are all unique, and the speed at which any individual recovers is unknown, unless you’re following the right strategies why put a time stamp on it? Following processes are not quick fixes, if you are likely to think this then don’t bother wasting my time. No one benefits from it and you’re just prolonging the window of recovery.

What 5 things should I do in order to bulletproof my recovery strategy ?

1. Remember you are human! Give yourself some time to register what’s happened.

Physically you’ll think you are a robot, stop, take a step back, and breathe.

Yes, I’m referring to the psychological effects. Injuries don’t just affect you physically they make you question a lot of things.

Reassurance from your close support network of family and friends will be the biggest aid in your journey back to full health.

Lean on them and don’t be afraid to ask them for help, It will give you time to process your emotions, and being overwhelmed is ok you’ve just experienced something that is negative.

2. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, time to get cold!

Using the R.I.C.E principles is great to reduce swelling and encourage blood flow but the aim is to encourage nutrient transportation and other essential repairing processes to accelerate to repair of the body.

The days of the simply putting an ice pack and on a muscle/joint to reduce the swelling are gone.

A recent research study showed that the use of cold water immersion in elite rugby union athletes was highly beneficial - Read the research article

The study above uncovered some extremely eye-opening facts for me that will take you down a rabbit hole and you can get lost in.

It is a proven fact that athletes exposed to high volume training stimuli lead to temporary states of impaired performance. We expect to see adaptations from training occur in response to the balance between the training load, recovery, and the correct nutritional goals.

3. Manual Therapy

Exposing the body to the correct manual therapy treatment can have extreme benefits for any athlete. The ability to relax a muscle whilst resetting it is something we don’t truly understand.

The body's ability to adapt Is a reoccurring question that I can’t fully explain in one blog.

The encouragement of blood flow to a joint is far more beneficial than you think.

For Example; torn ACL usually 8-10 weeks if rehabbed effectively. That timeframe can be reduced by up to 2 weeks by incorporating manual therapy treatment to the surrounding muscle groups.

Stimulation of surrounding muscle groups can encourage the transport of essential nutrients to the broken down muscle group in fact aiding recovery even more.

4. Sports massage over massage guns!

Recent evidence has shown that intense exposure to high impact massage gun therapy doesn't actually reduce muscle soreness or aid recovery.

For a number of years, I’ve been curious to understand the fascination of them so I bought one, now I’m going to drop the hammer….. absolutely useless and here are a number of reasons why.

You don’t know what you’re actually pounding continuously in that part of the body although it may be giving you some pain relief ask yourself if is it actually doing anything.

9 times out of 10 it's doing absolutely nothing, you’ve just wasted however much money you’ve bought.

So here's the best news you'll ever hear, you can spend as much money and get proper treatment through massage therapy. Save yourself the headache and speak to one, if you get stuck I know a few and there are some huge benefits from them.

5. Don't forget the exercises!

After any long rehab process, the last thing you want to do is the exercises you were prescribed by your coach. As part of my programs incorporating advanced exercises from the point you are released under your physios care is the primary objective. This is for joint maintenance and strengthening the joint to withstand the playing loads you will no doubt be experiencing as you get the game ready!


So if you’re looking to do things properly then please book a discovery call by clicking on the link below and let's work through this together!

It’s highly important for you to address the injured area of your body properly so that we limit any issues reoccurring further down the line.

I hope this blog has been useful for you, please feel free to like, share and comment below. Feedback is greatly appreciated as always.

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