We’ve all been injured from time to time. They come at random times and surprise all of us. At times, injuries can be a wakeup call for change. Other times, they can be a major setback and disappointment. I want to share the best ways to get over an injury. Whether it’s from sports or work or just playing around, from minor injuries to major career ending injuries, I’ve experienced them all. And I have learned the best ways to deal with them. I’ve learned the ins and outs of recovery as well as the mental game of getting over an injury. So here it is.
Let’s start with a minor injury. By minor, I mean you can still do what you like to do. A minor injury can be a jammed finger or a turned ankle. In other words, there’s discomfort but you can still do what you love to do. I’ve had maybe a thousand twisted ankles in my day. Yes they stink, but it’s still a minor injury where you can continue to play your sport. The only thing to consider is to ice after your activity. This will reduce swelling and inflammation to the area. A minor injury is one that heals fairly quickly. I minor setback. Maybe take a day or so off from intense activity. However, it’s always a good idea to do a little activity to keep the injured area from stiffening up. A little activity like active stretching or doing your activity at 50% intensity will also get blood flow to the area of concern. Blood flow means swelling will go down if there is any. And this will get you back on the court, field, ice, or job site faster.
The next set of injuries are moderate injuries. As you guessed it, these are a bit more severe than a minor injury, but not as bad as a career ending injury. These types of injuries could be a badly sprained ankle or knee, or a pulled or torn muscle. These injuries are the type to sideline you anywhere from a week to a month. You may need to take a week or so off from all activity to ensure you heal properly. For these types of injuries, you will want to ice heavily on the concerned area. Ice immediately after the injury and every day after that for 3-5 days. The rule for icing is 20 minutes on, followed by 20 minutes off, followed by 20 minutes on. During the first week or so, stay away from using the injured area all together. Let your body do its work without interfering. About a week or so after the injury, then you can think about activating the area a little. Start off very slowly. Don’t do anything that would put the area at more risk. Start with a little active stretching. Yoga is tremendous for this purpose. Start by getting your heartrate up then slowly and lightly stretching around the area. Depending on how severe the injury is, you may have to do this for longer than expected. But if the area is feeling like you are making progress, then you may start to work on light exercise. All of this helps give the injury blood flow which is necessary for proper healing. Continue the routine of stretching and light exercise until you feel confident to play or work at 50%. After each activity, be sure to continue ice and rest after the activity to prevent swelling. Once you are able to do 50% intensity, increase that intensity slowing every day. Eventually you will be able to get up to 100% and you will be back in the game. Light stretching and light activity are your best friends for moderate injuries. After a period of just rest, but sure to incorporate them in your recovery.
The next set of injuries are of course severe injuries. These are the broken bones, the torn ACLs, the surgery required setbacks. These are the most intense types of injuries. These may be career ending. I myself have gone through a career ending injury. It’s not fun. In fact, you feel extremely vulnerable. You realize you are not in control as much as you thought of your life. Things happen. That’s just life. I can go on about the recovery process here, but the truth is you will already be assigned a doctor or physician for a severe injury. And for the most part all you will be doing is resting until you are better. So for this section, the most important message is to touch on the mental side of recovery. Learning that you may not play the game you love anymore can be heartbreaking to many. However, there are some benefits that come from this too. The chance to pursue another interest perhaps. I’m a big believer in a “blessing in disguise”. And that’s how you should look at this. You may not see it right away, but sooner or later you will find something to help you through your injury. For me, I completely changed my life path I wanted to take. I believe my injury was a blessing in disguise and I haven’t looked back since. Try to look at the positives. Sometimes this can be easier said than done. But over time, you will realize this to be true.
Injuries are never fun. But depending how bad the injury is requires different methods for recovery. Minor injuries require less attention. While severe injuries require a lot of attention. And the type of attention you give from one injury to the next may be drastically different. Keep in mind the mental aspect of an injury. Don’t look at the injury as a major setback and life is over as you know it. Look at it as an opportunity. An opportunity to become stronger or an opportunity to rethink what your life is all about. The range of injuries is a wide range and each injury is different. Have a positive mindset and you will recover better than ever.