Few things frustrate athletes more than injuries. Sudden muscle pulls or the reemergence of nagging injuries can interrupt workout regimens and put athletes on the shelf until their injuries heal.
Some athletes may be tempted to fight through injuries and continue exercising, but doing so can make injuries worse and lead to even more time spent on the sidelines. Athletes who suspect they might have suffered more than minor aches and pains should consider the following approach when dealing with sudden setbacks in their workout routines.
· Visit a doctor. Medical websites like WebMD are valuable resources, but athletes should not assume that perusing such sites takes the place of visiting doctors. Self-diagnosing an injury, whether it’s with the help of a website or simply going on your own intuition, is not safe, as many fitness-related injuries share similar symptoms that make it easy for men and women without medical degrees to misdiagnose. Doctors can determine exactly what your injury is and help get you on the path to recovery by prescribing medications or developing treatment plans. Such treatments can be the difference between a speedy recovery and one that lasts months on end.
· Recognize the importance of patience. No two people heal the same, but patience with an injury is a part of every athlete’s healing process. If you don’t allow time for an injury to heal or if you try to accelerate your healing process, the existing injury can worsen and you may even injure another part of your body while overcompensating for your initial injury. Go into the healing process knowing it takes time, and be as patient as possible during your recovery.
· Be careful about the rest of your body. One of the problems many athletes encounter when dealing with an injury is the effect that injury has on other areas of your body. Athletes who perform strength training may be able to continue part of their regimen even after suffering an injury, but they should make note of their form to make sure their body is not overcompensating for the area that is injured. Doing so can lead to new injuries or even exacerbate the existing injury. When visiting a doctor, get a specific list of which exercises, if any, you can still perform while recovering. If you plan to weight train during your recovery, reduce the amount of weight you lift, which can help ensure your form remains correct.
· Report any new setbacks immediately. Some athletes suffer setbacks during their recoveries, and while setbacks can be expected, they should not just be accepted as another hurdle to clear. Report any setbacks to your physician immediately so he or she can advise you on the next steps to take.
· Return slowly. Once your injury has healed, keep in mind that you can’t just dive back in to your workout routine at full steam. Gradually increase the intensity of your workouts as your body once again acclimates itself to exercise.
Injury is a reality of life for many athletes. But how athletes handle their recoveries can affect how quickly they get back in the swing of things.