Return to play describes the stage in recovery from a sports injury when an athlete is able to go back to playing sports or participate in their specific physical activity at a pre-injury level.
Nobody likes to be sidelined with an undesired injury. Among the goals of sports medicine professionals and specialists is to try to restore an athlete back to action. Returning too soon, however before restoration or healing has taken place, can put an athlete at an increased risk for re-injury and down time.
With the ideal treatment and care plan for sport accidents and injury, from early identification and proper treatment to full functional rehabilitation, you can often safely accelerate your return to perform.
Lessons from Professional Athletes
Why does it seem that professional athletes come back to play so much quicker than the normal person or athlete? Professional athletes are often, at the time of injury, in tremendously good physical conditioning. This fitness level helps them in various ways. Various studies have demonstrated that conditioning the body properly can not only prevent injuries, it may also lessen the severity of an injury and speed up recovery.
Professional athletes also get prompt treatment once an injury happens, and this lessens the acute phase of the injury. Treatment and care is required as soon as an injury followed by symptoms such as, stiffness, swelling, and loss of muscle tone manifest. In addition, professional athletes work hard with a physical therapist or certified athletic trainer.
Many professional athletes contribute their healing to exactly what they bring to their game,a positive attitude. You are able to harness the power of a positive mindset to your own benefit, even though you may not have access to the tools that professional athletes possess.
Advice from the Pros to Boost Your Recovery
- Maintain balanced physical conditioning
- Make Sure injuries are recognized early and treated promptly
- Participate in a complete functional rehabilitation program
- Stay healthy while injured
- Keep a positive, upbeat mental attitude
Proper Athletic Treatment Recovery Plan
Phases of Care
Recovery from an injury involves a set of logical steps from the time of the injury until you are able to return on the field or court. Every step should be summarized and monitored by your physician and therapist.
During the acute phase of injury, the focus should be on minimizing swelling. This entails the RICE formula (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation), Together with a limitation of actions. Based on the type and severity of your injury, treatment may involve casting, or bracing and surgery in more serious cases.
During the acute period, it’s extremely important to keep overall conditioning while the injury heals. Creative techniques may be used to safely work around the injury. As an example, a runner with a leg injury may often run in plain water or use a bicycle to keep conditioning. By doing exercises if one leg is in a cast, the remainder of the human body can be exercised. Don’t wait till your injury is treated to get back into shape.
In another phase of recovery, you should focus on regaining full motion and strength of the injured limb or joint. Your doctor, physical therapist or certified athletic trainer will help outline an exact treatment plan. For injuries, gentle protective exercises can be started almost immediately. Muscle tone may be preserved by means of strengthening exercises or electric stimulation.
When strength returns to normal, functional drills could be started. For lower extremity injuries, this may include brisk walking, jumping rope, hopping, or light jogging. For upper extremity injuries, effortless ground strokes or light throwing could be carried out. The coordination that might have been lost in the injury can be brought back by specific exercises for agility and balance.
Once you have progressed with mobility, endurance, strength, and agility, and are tolerating functional exercises, you can try higher levels of sport-specific movement routines. Your physical therapist or certified athletic trainer monitors this. You could find that tape, braces, or supports help in this transition time.
Only when you are practicing hard without significant problem, and the healing has progressed to the point at which the probability of injury or harm is reduced, are you ready to return to play. During these phases of recovery, you ought to be carefully monitored. Special attention ought to be given to sufficient warm up following the activity prior to the activity and icing after engaging in the specific sport or physical activity.
Note Of Caution
The rational progression of recovery not only reduces the chance of re-injury but also assures that you will be able to perform at your best when you return to play. Frequently, athletes believe they are all set to return as soon as the limp or even the swelling subsides. They might feel good, but they are probably just 70 to 75% recovered. This invites re-injury.
Sports medicine experts are working on approaches to assist athletes to achieve near 100% healing as fast as the proper cautionary measures allows. The athlete’s health and safety has to be put over all other concerns, although there is enormous pressure to get the athlete back whenever possible.
A systematic recovery program has been successfully utilized every day, at all levels of play, from the recreational athlete to the elite professional or Olympic athlete, by a variety of specialized healthcare professionals. As with any type of sports injury, seek immediate medical attention from a qualified specialist to begin the rehabilitation process.
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss options on the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
By Dr. Alex Jimenez
Additional Topics: Sports Care
Athletes engage in a series of stretches and exercises on a daily basis in order to prevent damage or injury from their specific sports or physical activities as well as to promote and maintain strength, mobility and flexibility. However, when injuries or conditions occur as a result of an accident or due to repetitive degeneration, getting the proper care and treatment can change an athlete’s ability to return to play as soon as possible and restore their original health.
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