Injuries unfortunately come with the territory when playing sports. After an athlete suffers an injury, often times it is not addressed properly which causes a delayed or incomplete recovery and more time on the sidelines. This can be due to the athlete simply not knowing what to do, ignoring the injury, or getting inadequate medical advice/treatment.
Let’s talk about the 7 biggest mistakes athletes make when they get injured so that you (or your son/daughter) won’t do any of them and can get back to playing as fast (and safely) as possible.
1: Playing Through the Pain
The old school motto of “No Pain, No Gain” is exactly that… Old School. Personally when I had this mentality in the past, it didn’t go well and I definitely did more harm than good. I wish someone had been there to stop me educate and stop me from doing more damage.
When you feel pain when playing (or training), that is your body’s alarm system going off telling you “Stop! Something is not right and you need to do something about it!”
When you play through pain, your body is going to compensate in ways to try to minimize that pain which may put other areas of your body at risk for injury.
I get that you don’t want to stop playing – I’ve been there – but you have to ask yourself if it’s all worth it and if you’re doing more damage than good. So when you get pain while playing or suffer an injury, seek out the appropriate medical care (see more about that below)
2: Thinking It Will Go Away On Its Own
Athletes will often shrug off an injury as no big deal and think that it will just take some time for it to go away. The problem with that is athletic injuries do not go away on their own. They are typically more complex and require the help of a medical professional.
Since athletics involve the entire body working as a whole, even a minor injury/issue such as a small ankle sprain can an enormous impact on other areas (i.e. cause a more serious injury).
3: Waiting Too Long To Do Something About It
If you are guilty of #1 and #2, then you're more than likely to be guilty of this one too. The longer you wait to take care of an injury/pain, the harder it is to get rid of it and the longer it will take to get back to 100%. So early recognition and treatment of an injury will give you the best outcome.
What do you have to lose by getting expert medical advice on your injury/pain!? And since I know that many of you don't know where to start, we offer FREE 15 Minute Discovery Visits where you can ask us ANYTHING you want about your injury/pain.
4: Neglecting To Do Physical Therapy or Chiropractic
Let's say you decided to see a medical professional about your injury/pain and you saw a physician who told you to just take some pills, ice it and it will go away on it's own (see #2)....simply put, that's just not going to do much. The odds of you recovering 100% (without any compensations) by just taking some pills, icing, and resting are honestly quite small.
The best thing to do is see a Physical Therapist or Chiropractor that specializes in these types of situations. They are the ideal medical professionals that can guide athletes from injury all the way back to playing. Physical Therapists and Chiropractors are movement specialists who evaluate and treat musculoskeletal problems and will provide you with the quickest and safest route back to playing.
5 - Not Going To a Professional Who Specializes In Sports Injuries
Now, seeing just any healthcare professional won't suffice for athletes. You should seek out someone who specializes in sports injuries/rehab.
If you have gone to Physical Therapy or Chiropractic before and they had you pulling on some rubber bands and kicking around ankle weights, that's not the type of rehabilitation athletes should be getting....actually, it's not the type anyone should be getting.
As I mentioned above, athletic injuries tend to be more complex than general injuries and therefore require the skill/knowledge of a specialist.
6: Stopping All Training
Another common mistake athletes make when they get injured is to stop all of their training (weightlifting, conditioning, etc). Most athletes do this because they are scared of making their injury worse or because they just don't know how to train around the injury/pain.
Unfortunately, when you stop all your training, you will start to become de-conditioned and weaker....which will lead to an even longer recovery. Seeking out a professional to help you train around your injury and maintain your fitness level is vital to the recovery process.
7: Not Following Through With Rehab/Training
Some athletes will make the right decision and go to rehabilitation but after a few sessions, they drop off because they think they're "good enough" and "can do the rest on their own." And these athletes are the ones who tend to never fully recover or suffer another injury when they go back to play.
Physical Therapists and Chiropractors develop an individualized treatment plan for a reason - they listened to your story & goals, assessed your injury, and formulated a plan that will get you back to doing what you love as quickly and safely as possible. And this requires sticking to that plan....not missing sessions and ending treatment prematurely. If you follow through with the entire treatment plan laid out by your therapist, you will reap the rewards as you get back to doing the things you love ASAP!