The Biggest Mistakes In Managing Your Sports Injury
(That doctors won’t tell you!)
We all hate getting injured, it stops us enjoying our favourite hobbies, sports and physical activity. Sometimes it even affects our family life, work and our mood. Unfortunately injuries can happen, but those first few hours can make a big impact on your recovery time. Doing the correct thing at the right time makes all the difference.
Over the next few posts by The Optimal Physio, we’ll look at managing sports injuries and getting players back to their best as quickly as possible.
MISTAKE 1: STRETCHING
So you think you have torn a muscle and it feels tight? Got to stretch it, right?
WRONG! This is the biggest mistake that nearly everyone makes.
The body is very clever at telling you what it wants, sometimes it’s helpful to listen, other times your body gives you the wrong signal. In this case your body is correct, listen to it, and allow the muscle time to repair. It usually feels tight because the muscle has gone into a spasm to protect the tear. It doesn’t want to be stretched, as we don’t want to pull more muscle fibres apart and increase the damage. The body is trying to cover the tear with fibres and create the right environment to start the healing phase.
The first part of this healing phase is bleeding. We also want to stop the bleeding and reduce the damage. The bleeding phase typically lasts 4-8 hours.
This is why we stop the activity which caused the injury. The body then tries to put in place a “quick fix” of some fibres which can limit the damage and get us functional as quickly as possible. Stretching can pull apart these fibres at this early stage. Simply move the muscle through its pain free available range.
Start this after 12 hours post injury.