5 Tips to Return to Activity After an Injury

injury prevention

5 Tips to Return to Activity After an Injury

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Getting injured isn’t fun, nor is having lingering aches and pains, especially when you’re on a roll with your fitness routine. It’s frustrating being out of action but perhaps more so when you aren’t able to gauge your ETA to a full recovery. Quite often, there is no single formula to determine when you’re ready to return to regular activity. Our podiatrists have listed their 5 top tips to guide you through this.

1. Get the Okay from Your Doctor

Getting the all-clear from your doctor/ podiatrist/ physiotherapist is paramount. This means your injury has healed to a level where it is safe to begin your rehab exercises.

2. Morning Pain

If you find taking those first few steps out of bed every morning painful, chances are, you have morning pain. Furthermore, if you’re getting pain after activity or after rest, you’re probably not ready to start getting back into your fitness regime just yet. Try hopping on one leg, squatting or walking up and down stairs. Does this hurt? If so, and if you haven’t received a diagnosis yet, visit us for an assessment. Make sure to monitor your pain after activity, after rest or your first few steps after you wake up.

3. Travelling Pain

A travelling pain is that little niggle that you would describe as a 0 to 2/10 during activity or rest, with 10/10 being the worst pain you’ve ever felt. In our experience, if your pain is around this range (0-2 out of 10), you’re probably ready to start your return to activity. If your pain exceeds 2/10, we recommend you go back to your podiatrist or physio for a review to ensure we get you going sooner rather than later.

4. Movement is Medicine

Movement is medicine. Remember this. Research tells us if you don’t use it, you lose it. Rest is important in the acute phase of an injury but getting in early and moving that injured limb or joint/s is a great way to start your rehab journey. Depending on the severity of your injury, a good strengthening and conditioning program is recommended, especially one that integrates balance and coordination exercises. Together, they stimulate your musculoskeletal cells to remodel themselves and get your brain to link up with to your muscles, tendons and joints just like a software update! Movement is also important in reducing the risk of injury before it happens as well as reducing the risk of re-injury in the future.

5. Change the Variables

Lastly, if you’re still experiencing pain, or simply want to reduce the chance or recurrent injury, there are a few factors to consider.

  • Weight loss: Losing those few extra kilos reduces the impact and loading on your muscles, tendons, bones and joints. It may even reduce your level of pain.
  • Change your routine: Try cross-training by switching up your activities to include some like rowing, cycling, swimming, etc. Adjust the load and intensity which will help your body recover by allowing more time to remodel muscle, tendon and bone cells.
  • Your long-term medication: Talk to your GP about any systemic factors that may be relevant to your injury. i.e. the side effects of some drugs can affect your ability to heal.

  • Check your footwear: Are your shoes worn out, uncomfortable, tight or do they crease in the midsole? Make sure you check your footwear regularly as ill-fitting footwear often leads to injury.
  • Check your orthotics: Visit our podiatrists to ensure that your orthotics are custom-made to suit your foot type and function. Get them checked yearly or sooner if you’re active.

For a comprehensive rehab program or for condition-specific advice, visit our podiatrists at footinjuryclinic.