Get Back in the Game After a Chronic Sports Injury
Chronic injuries such as shin splints and tennis elbow can hold you back from the activities you love—at least temporarily. Being off your game may be frustrating, but don’t rush the healing process. Stay patient and follow these recovery tips to get back in play.
1. Take It Easy
Most chronic sports injuries happen over time from overuse. They can also develop when you increase your training time or intensity too quickly. For this reason, easing up on the aggravating activity or temporary rest is often recommended to aid healing.
Follow your doctor’s advice about the amount and type of rest you need. If you have shin splints or runner’s knee, for example, you may need to stick with low-impact activity for several weeks.
2. Keep Your Injury on Ice
Most treatment plans for chronic sports injuries include a little TLC from your freezer. Ice helps decrease inflammation, ease pain, and speed the healing process.
Apply a cold pack or a bag of crushed ice to the area for 20 minutes at a time. Repeat this throughout the day, up to eight times a day, for at least 48 hours.
3. Focus on Form
While in recovery, learn the proper form for your sport or activity. Performing exercises the right way is especially important following an injury.
In general, follow these tips for good form:
- Don’t slouch or slump forward during activities. Think, “stand tall.”
- During squats and lunges, don’t bend your knees past 90 degrees.
- Land with your knees bent when you jump.
- Relax your shoulders down when exercising.
- When running or cycling, move from your hips. Try to use your lower back as little as possible.
4. Know When to Follow Up with Your Doctor
Call your doctor if the pain keeps getting worse. In addition, follow up if you have an old injury that starts to feel painful and swell.
Still hurting? If you have an athletic injury and need guidance to get back in gear, we can help. Learn more about the orthopedic care we offer here.