What we know about tissue healing from Sports Injuries.
- The absence of pain does not mean an injury has fully healed. In some injuries, repair tissue matures as slow as 1% to 2% a week. During this time, as repair tissue matures and remodels, you are vulnerable re-injury with a premature return to work, sports or other activities.
- Continuing to do activities at work or in sports, known to trigger pain, will delay tissue maturation and potentially result in permanent chronic pain.
- The presence of night pain is not a good thing and is something that needs to be assessed by a healthcare professional as soon as possible.
- The younger you are, the more likely you’ll heal faster.
- The more blood flow an injured tissue has, the more likely you’ll biologically heal faster (muscles heal faster than tendons or ligaments). With the exception of bone, the whiter in appearance of a injured tissue in an anatomy book, the slower you can expect it to heal.
- Genetics do play a role in tissue healing. Some people do heal faster than others.
- If you smoke or have peripheral vascular disease (often associated with diabetes), you will likely heal at a slower rate than a non-smoker.
- The greater the depth of tissue injury, the longer it will likely take to heal.
Designing the best treatment plan depends on:
- An accurate and reliable diagnosis
- Biological knowledge of how your injury heals, how well it heals and how fast it heals.
- Biological knowledge of exactly what type and dose of activity works best for a specific diagnosis at each stage of tissue healing
- Biological knowledge of what activities and exercises can actually make a condition worse and potentially cause permanent chronic pain.
Restoring physiological functional capacity and individual skills to return to play.
- The single most important ingredient in the rehabilitation of any bone or joint injury is safe and appropriate exercise at each stage of tissue healing (early, middle, late). The earlier a patient is able to start exercise and the more rehab exercise a patient can do at home, the faster they’ll return to sports.
Key points to ask:
- Has repair tissue at the site of injury had adequate time to restore sufficient tensile strength to withstand the unrestricted demands of the given sport?
- Has the athlete restored full painfree range of motion at the site of injury; full muscular strength, power and endurance; normal dynamic proprioception at the affected joints?
- Has the athlete had professional clearance to return to unrestricted practice?
- Has the athlete restored their ability to perform their individual sport-specific skills with confidence, precision at full speed, with the endurance to repeat the skills as needed WITHOUT an immediate or delayed onset of symptoms within 24 hours?
- Does the athlete feel confident in their physical and psychological abilities to return to play and excel?
- After the athlete has participated in unrestricted practices without a return of symptoms, have they seen a professional and been cleared to participate in unrestricted competition?
Although we are athletes too, and we want to get back in the game as soon as possible, we need to ensure the your risk of re-injury is extremely low.