Whether you play in a league, take long runs or hikes, or simply like to walk around the block, an ankle sprain, muscle pull, or herniated disc can be a painful, disruptive experience. If you lead an active lifestyle, dealing with a new or persistent injury often feels like the end of the road. But with the right mindset – and the right pain treatment team – that doesn’t have to be the case.
Types of Injuries
You’ve probably heard the terms “tennis elbow” or “runner’s knee”. They’re known as repetitive stress injuries (RSIs), and they arise due in part to the overuse of muscles, nerves, or tendons. They’re common, but they can make life difficult. With RSIs, you may feel different levels of pain (depending on severity) as well as “swelling, tingling, numbness, stiffness, weakness, or sensitivity to cold or heat.”
Outside of RSIs or other chronic issues, you may also experience a sudden sprain, strain, concussion, or fracture — an injury arising out of the blue from a misstep or possibly a fall. These (like the RSIs) range in severity, and they can often take quite a long time to heal.
Treatments and therapies vary widely depending on both the severity of the injury and the circumstances of the individual. What may work for one person may not work for another. But treating sports injuries often requires time, as treatments may demand constant adjustments and readjustments due to the intricacies and uniqueness of the human body and mind.
Ankle and foot pain may require (in addition to physical therapy) guided injections of steroids or anesthetics. Custom orthotics may also be required. A spine injury can involve – among other injections – the administration of spinal cord stimulator leads, a process designed to help modulate pain signals. Treating the pain – wherever its location and whatever its manifestation – is often one of the first steps. With the pain numbed or treated, recovery exercises and muscle strengthening therapies can then begin.
If the pain is severe or chronic, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) may (in conjunction with injections or PT) be employed to help with a patient’s perceptions and outlook. CBT is proven to be helpful as a form of relief through acceptance.
Look To The Greats
Feeling down or depressed after an injury is more common than you may think. There’s no shame in those feelings. But consider all the professional athletes who have gone through similar experiences. Serena Williams was out for a year due to an unforeseen leg injury after slipping on a patch of grass. Tom Brady tore his ACL during a game in 2008. Tiger Woods even dealt with spinal surgery pain and a long ankle and foot recovery from a car accident in 2021. All these athletes had to contend with the possibility that they may never have been able to play their sport again. Yet all of them sought treatment and therapies, re-strengthened where they could, and all of them made their comebacks.
Tom Brady’s recovery was due, in part, to his “laser focus”: his determination to not only get better, but take what he learned in physical therapy to heart. Tiger Woods — sometimes expressing frustration — also expressed hope. “It’s been tough, but I’ve gotten here, I’ve gotten this far and I still have a long way to go. Each and every day’s a fight, and I welcome that fight. Get up in the morning, let’s go a few more rounds,” he said.
Lesson learned? Never discount a positive attitude.
Recovery Takes Time
A sports injury can be difficult to cope with. People who regularly exercise may feel like an important part of their life has been taken away. And though treatment and therapies are crucial for recovery, so is setting yourself up with the right expectations and support systems.
Be kind to yourself. Focus on what you can control, not what you cannot. Invest time in the people around you, looking to them for help and advice. Give your body the time and space to heal, but also prepare your mind for however long recovery may take. Don’t rush through therapies, ignoring the pain in the hopes that it will go away overnight. An injury that disrupts your routine is hard enough to deal with by itself – there’s no need to go through it feeling guilty and alone.
And remember: even with an injury, exercise is important. Simply focus on physical activities that don’t target your pain areas. If you sprained your ankle, consider upper body stretches. If you broke your wrist, a stationary bike or long walk might be just what you’re looking for.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional or amateur athlete, a sports injury can put a damper on any sort of active lifestyle.
Pain treatment and physical therapies are your number one goal on your road to recovery, and our pain specialists can help you with your pain treatment and sports injury therapy regimen plans today.
Feel free to contact our offices if you have any questions. If you’re in pain, ReclaimAbility can help.