The injury recovery process can be frustrating if you’re sidelined from playing sports or physical activity. Fortunately, though, there are things you can do to recover properly and speed up an athlete injury timeline to help you get back in the game sooner rather than later.
From light exercises to rehabilitation outside of your training, your injury recovery plan doesn’t have to be complicated, either. Here’s how to speed up your timeline.
*This article shouldn’t be used as a substitute for medical advice. Seek medical care if you have a serious injury.
Commit to Not Making the Injury Worse
It may seem obvious, but to athletes, being out of action can be very difficult. If you’re serious about speeding up the injury recovery process, though, you’ll need to stop doing exercises that irritate or cause pain where you’re hurt.
For example, if you injured yourself lifting weights, you should avoid any exercises in the gym that cause pain or restrict mobility in the hours (or days) after.
(Here’s where you can learn more about Sports Medicine and how to deal with lingering issues.)
Implement the RICE Method
Frequently backed by health experts and doctors, the RICE method is an acronym that stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Adding each practice to your after-exercise routine can help speed up your injury recovery.
Rest gives your body time to heal itself.
Icing the injury has been shown to reduce swelling and promote healing blood flow to the area.
Compression helps channel fresh, oxygenated blood through the injury as well.
Elevation can help drain pooled blood (which forms bruises) out of the injury to help reduce swelling and jumpstart recovery.
See a Doctor If It Gets Worse
If one or two weeks go by and your injury isn’t healing (or has gotten worse), you might want to see a medical doctor or physical therapist. They can accurately diagnose your injury and give you tips to heal it quicker.
Often, though, their advice will be similar to what you’ve already read: rest the area, apply ice to reduce swelling, don’t make the injury worse, etc.
Add Light Rehab Exercises
As rehabilitation goes on, you might consider adding light exercises back to your routine. So long as there isn’t pain, some light exercise in the area (without weights) helps promote blood flow for healing and can reinstate the range of motion you may have lost from inactivity.
It’s best to work with a physiotherapist or sports medicine doctor to decide which exercises are safe for you. In general, though, avoid anything that makes the injury worse.
These injury recovery tips, like applying the RICE method and doing light rehab exercises, aren’t rocket science. But they will help promote healing in the afflicted area and get you back on the court, field, or in the gym.
For more sports tips like this, check out the rest of our blog.