Returning To Exercise After Injury: Going Through Rehab As A Physio

Hi, my name is Kirsty and I have injuries. As a Physio this is hard to admit, because we are all perfect, right? Prior to my injuries, I was running 2-3 times per week, going to the gym 4 times per week and doing Pilates 3 times per week. In August last year I developed a tibialis posterior tendon injury and couldn’t run, and then in December (on Boxing Day, while trying to run off my Christmas dinner!) I tripped while out for a run, significantly bruising my right hand and limiting my ability to take weight through the hand.

Do your exercises

I must admit, that at the start I did not do my exercises like the good patient I should be. I was too busy, I forgot, I couldn’t be bothered some of the time. This significantly slowed down my recovery. Instead of not being able to run for a couple of weeks and then steadily returning, I probably didn’t run for 2 months, solely down to this. The minute I started doing my rehab properly, I saw significant jumps in my recovery, from reduction in pain to being able to go for a run. Yes, I know I should know better. The rehab for my foot has range from the simple theraband exercises, to more sports specific jumping and running drills. Your different rehab exercises are determined by your overall goals, working you back up to the power/strength/flexibility levels that you had prior to the injury, or better, and your Physio should be able to guide you with this.

You can still exercise

So, for my tendon, running and jumping exercise were out of the picture for at least 2 months. But I adapted my training and could still do some cardio exercise by using the cross trainer, cycling and I took up swimming.

For my hand, I am still restricted in my ability to weight bear through it. I can’t do push ups, and sadly I have not been able to do burpees for 5 months now. Happily, there is a lot of things I can do and my PT takes great joy in making me do pulls ups, thrusters and shoulder presses.

The point I am making here is there is always alternative options for exercise. Ask your Physio and your personal trainer to give you other options. Unless you are in the acute stages of an injury, there will always be something you can do, no it might not be running, but sometimes being patient is better than nothing.

Take your time

With injuries, once your past that initial acute stage of the injury and the pain is improving, it is tempting to rush back into everything as quickly as possible. Pacing is an important part of your treatment, and it simply means slow and staggered return to exercise. For me this has meant running for 4 minutes and walking for 2 minutes and then steadily increasing the amount of time I can run for, if there is no pain. Depending on your injury it may mean work with lighter weights, longer repetitions, altered weight bearing, longer rest periods, and you can even look at time between days of exercise. As you can imagine you need to do your specific strengthening to match the exercise, so as that progresses, so can your training.

Stay positive

You will get there! With the help and support from your Physio you will continue to improve.  Ask questions, make sure you understand the process and realise you will have to work if you want to get better. We are here to support you and our main aim is to make you pain free and able to return to your training.

If you have an injury and don’t know how to get it better while doing exercise book in with one of our Bend + Mend Physio’s. We will have you running back running the Barangaroo Reserve in no time!

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