Resting injuries versus doing physio

by Philip MacDonald | Last updated

A friend recently told me that he wouldn’t be able to train because his ankle was still hurting him. This is the same ankle injury he’s had almost all season. He told me he rested the ankle earlier in the season and then it felt better. Once he started training again he hurt it all over again. Now he’s been resting it for almost a month (the second time around). He hasn’t trained at all but says he still feels pain in his ankle.

I should clarify that my friend’s injury is an ankle sprain, so we are not talking about broken bones here.

A key point to remember her is not to train right after an injury. The body naturally requires a certain period of rest (no physical activity) and your doctor can give a more accurate timeline based on your injury. However, once the initial resting period is over it is better to do daily physiotherapy instead of continued rest. This lack of physiotherapy is a common mistake many soccer make. They do continued rest but skip the rehabilitation process.

The reality after an injury is the muscles around the area have lost as much as 50% of their strength, maybe more, depending on the injury. With that being said it is best to build up that strength and motion again in the area before playing at full strength again.

Everyday do the physio exercises that you were instructed to do. They may be extremely boring but they will help strengthen the injured area. I always did my exercises in front of the television or while listening to the radio. It could be as 20 minutes of physio in the morning and night each day. As the strength comes back then gradually start running again and slowly integrate yourself into the teams training sessions.

You will notice a considerable improvement in the strength of your formerly injured area and when you return to playing you greatly reduce the chance of a relapse of the injury. You will also return to action much sooner than had you done another several weeks of continued rest.

Make sure to see your physiotherapist instead of prolonging the injury. Physiotherapists these days can be expensive but once you receive the initial treatment and are given your exercises you can often do exercises on your own at home. This way you’ll be back in action much sooner doing what you love to do!

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