GENERAL EXPECTATIONS WHEN RECOVERING FROM AN INJURY*
Your body wants to heal. It is designed with a particular process to repair itself!
This course of healing occurs whether you’ve experience a major trauma (car accident, fall, or sports injury) or a minor insult (such as soreness from “overdoing it” at the gym or in the garden).
The following 3 phases of healing must occur after any kind of soft tissue insult.
*Disclaimer: Every body is unique and many factors will affect the natural healing process. For individual expectations, consult your medical professional.
Phase 1) Inflammation
↑ Temperature or Redness
Phase 2) Tissue Repair
↓ of acute phase symptoms
Weak scar tissue formation
Phase 3) Tissue Remodel
↑ stability and power
Note: Pain free does not necessarily mean all is well. The pain will usually begin to subside in the second phase of healing. Make sure you do not short change your recovery. Take the time now to invest in getting strong and stable so that you reduce the risk of re-injury.
Factors that will prolong the healing process:
MODIFIABLE Risk Factors: (these deterrents to healing are within your control to change!)
• Delay in appropriate care (The sooner you pay attention to an injury, the more control you have over reducing the duration of painful symptoms & avoiding repeated aggravations.)
• Poor Nutrition (Stay hydrated. Fuel your body with lean protein & Vitamin C for tissue repair.)
• Smoking (Reduce the frequency & quantity of tobacco exposure per day.)
• High stress levels (Find appropriate tension outlets and focus on what you CAN still do.)
NON-Modifiable Risk Factors: include a history of ongoing illness, heart disease, circulation problems, or diabetes. The severity and complexity of an injury can also prolong your recovery, but remember that there are still activities you can control to facilitate general health.
TREAT YOUR BODY RIGHT! (It’s the only one you’ve got!)
• Warm it up nice & easy –Give love to sore muscles by pumping blood through the body. This is done best through active muscle movements, but you can prep yourself with a heating pad or gentle massage before beginning your workout.
• Perform Perfect Technique! –Once you lose form, it’s easier to get injured. Remember to ALWAYS engage the “core” muscles & keep good alignment from start to finish.
• Support Yourself! –Offload an injury with bracing, taping, and appropriate footwear.
• ICE, ICE BABY! Chilling out for 10-20 minutes after strenuous activity helps reduce potential swelling & inflammation. For new injuries (phases 1 & 2) use ICE while elevating the limb.
• Remember to refuel with the good stuff… Pre & post nutritional adherence is essential for proper recovery. KEEP HYDRATED & seek out fresh foods that are good source of lean protein, and high in fiber, vitamins, & minerals.
The following are tips to keep you on track towards your ultimate goal- LONGEVITY!
Rehabilitation can be a complicated process. Choose a care team that will take your body and needs into consideration. If you would like more information about our clinic, contact us at 865.691.3155.
-Written by Jamie Ligon, PT, DPT