Get Active After an Injury Newsletter

Tips To Get Active After an Injury

Getting active after you've sustained an injury can be a tall task. Working to properly recover and gradually increase your activity levels after an injury can often take time. With the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional or licensed physical therapist, you can restore your mobility and function to get back to full speed in no time.

Take a look at some of these effective methods to help you get active after an injury and see how physical therapy can help you get back to doing the things you love most!

Can Getting Active After an Injury Help You Recover?

Getting active after you've sustained an injury can be a challenge. Working with a physical therapist can help you recover quicker and get back to the things you love to do. As you go through the unique and tailored treatment program with a licensed physical therapist, you will work to gradually build your activity levels over time with the goal of alleviating pain, restoring function, improving mobility, and increasing your ability to get back to everyday activities.

Physical therapy can help you progressively increase your activity levels as you ease into exercises, stretches, and other manual therapy techniques which can help the body get accustomed to moving after periods of inactivity. Physical therapy interventions also promote the healing process by restoring movement, blood flow, and other vital nutrients to the injury. Before beginning any type of exercise or stretching routine, you should always consult with a qualified healthcare professional who can evaluate you and educate you on the proper ways to perform exercises.

Effective Methods To Get Active After an Injury

Get On The Same Page with Your Physical Therapist and Physician

One of the best methods to get active after an injury is to make sure that you're on the same page with your healthcare team. This healthcare team includes your physician and physical therapist who will work with you along your injury recovery journey. Take time to make sure that you understand what the plan of care looks like, the measurable outcomes you're working to achieve, and what you can expect along the way.

Getting an understanding of what your treatment and injury recovery journey will look like will help you find clarity in understanding why your physical therapist is asking you to perform certain exercises or maneuvers. In addition, these moments when you sit down and get a better understanding of what is expected will give you an opportunity to create a vital line of communication between you and your care team.

When you're on the same page with your physical therapist and physician, you can have confidence that you're on the right treatment and recovery plan to effectively recover from your injury.

Take It Slow

As you ramp up your activity levels following an injury, you should always be mindful of taking it slow and progressively increasing the frequency, duration, and intensity over time. When you've sustained an injury and you're going through treatment to get back to full health, it can be enticing to want to jump back into the swing of things quickly and see how fast you can get up to speed.

In physical therapy, getting back into activity follows the acronym “POLICE” to help you recover from an injury:

  • P= Protection: Your physical therapist can teach you how to modify activities to avoid further tissue damage such as using crutches or identifying how much rest you need.
  • O/L= Optimal Loading: All tissues in our body require some loading to stimulate healing. Complete rest is often not the answer. A physical therapist can help you identify how quickly to get back into activities and prevent additional tissue damage
  • I= Ice: In an acute injury ice can be helpful to reduce pain
  • C= Compression: The right amount of compression can help control excessive swelling and protect the injured area
  • E= Elevation: Elevation can also help to reduce swelling and pain after activity

Pushing your body too far too fast can set you back in your recovery, which is why you should focus on gradual progressions to ensure that you heal properly and you have a successful recovery. Your physical therapist will work with you to determine the appropriate recovery timetable and help you monitor your progress along the way.

Focus on the Fundamentals

As you begin to increase your activity levels, another thing to keep in mind is to focus on the fundamentals. This means that you're following the guidance of your physical therapist and you're also doing all you can to prevent re-injury and reduce the likelihood of future injuries. Focusing on the fundamentals may include pre-workout stretches, post-workout stretches, and a warm-up and warm-down period where you can help your body get accustomed to increased activity levels gradually.

Celebrate the Success

Don't be afraid to celebrate the wins and success as you progressively increase your activity levels and get back to the things you were doing before your injury. After an injury, progress can feel slow at certain points during the recovery period, but you should focus on celebrating the wins and the success along the way. During your recovery, there will be ups and downs and there will be days where it seems like you're at a standstill.

Instead of focusing on the things that frustrate you, try and set aside small goals that you can achieve over time. An example could include setting a goal to walk a little bit further each day or to do your physical therapy homework every single day.

Setting realistic goals with your physical therapist and physician can help you work towards those incremental steps over time and boost your confidence as you recover.

Consume Proper Nutrition and Stay Well Hydrated

The next method to get active after an injury and during the rehabilitation process is to make sure that you're fueling your body with the proper nutrition and hydration it needs. Your body needs fuel to not only give you the energy to tackle all that lies ahead throughout the day, but to properly repair your injury as well. A well-balanced diet plays a key role in your body's ability to recover and give you all the nutrients you need to repair muscle damage, promote healthy bones, and boost your immunity.

Stick to the Routine and Be Accountable

Your ability to get active after an injury ultimately comes down to your ability to be accountable and stick to the routine and recommended guidelines from your physical therapist and physician. Sticking to the plan and trusting in the process will help you get back to doing the things you love most as you gradually increase your activity levels after an injury. Don't be afraid to lean on that open line of communication with your physical therapist if you have any questions about the recovery process. Your physical therapist is there to help you along the way.

Get Active After an Injury with Physical Therapy

Safely returning to pre-injury activity levels can take time but it is a necessary step in recovering effectively after you've sustained an injury. Our physical therapists are movement experts and can help you by working with you to treat your injury, alleviate pain, improve function, restore mobility, and help get you active through a comprehensive treatment program that is tailored to your unique needs and goals.

Schedule an appointment today at a physical therapy clinic near you to see how our physical therapists can work with you to help you recover and get active after an injury with physical therapy!

 

  1. “Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3 June 2022, https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/index.html.
  2. SK;, Papadopoulou. “Rehabilitation Nutrition for Injury Recovery of Athletes: The Role of Macronutrient Intake.” Nutrients, U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32824034/.