Getting injured can be a frustrating and challenging process, one that takes time and a full understanding of your injury. Patients often want to know how soon they can return to their previous fitness level, but the exact answer can be difficult. It depends on each patient’s health and varies on a case by case basis. Working closely with your physical therapist during and after your treatment will boost your chances of getting back to where you were pre-injury. Let’s break down the process to a healthy recovery:
Create a Transition Plan
When reaching the end of your physical therapy, it’s a good idea to establish a transition plan with your therapist. Now that you know how to exercise your body the correct way, discuss different at home workouts. Pushing too hard too fast can aggravate your injury and could reverse weeks of progress you have made in therapy, so set realistic goals and lay out a program that builds upon itself up week by week.
At Foothills, our patients have a unique advantage. Ten of our physical therapy locations also include FAST® (Foothills Acceleration and Sports Training) which offers personal training, group fitness, and sports performance training. Our personal trainers work closely with our physical therapists and their patients to deliver transitional rehabilitation programs.
Pre-Work Out Prep
Keep the momentum going! Being close to recovery should motivate you to keep working out on your own. After consulting with your therapist, make sure to fuel your body with healthy foods and plenty of water. Take enough time to fully warm up with some PT approved stretching or a short jog. You want to get your blood circulating, which opens up your muscles making them more pliable.
Know Your Body
When it comes to the actual workout, it’s best to take it slow and incrementally increase duration and weight over time. Always remember to listen to your body; if you feel pain or resistance, don’t force yourself any further, or try dropping weight to reduce the risk of injury. The New England Journal of Medicine reports that “67.1% of patients who had been discharged with medical conditions were re-hospitalized within the first year after discharge,” which is why it is so important to follow the home exercise plan laid out by your physical therapist.
Reach Your Goals
Keep in mind that recovery doesn’t happen overnight. Hopefully, with time and diligence, you will be well on your way to reaching your pre-injury fitness goals. However, if you feel that you are not progressing in the way you would like, or you feel that you may reinjure yourself, consider reaching out to the physical therapy professionals at Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy; they’re knowledgeable and have the tools to help you on the path to achieving your goals.