The rehabilitation process of an injury can be challenging for several reasons. Whilst getting past the initial pain and discomfort and working with your physiotherapist to achieve pre-injury function is essential, there is a period of time prior to returning to sport that must be followed.
This is deemed the “injury hump”. Whilst you may feel no pain or discomfort during this period of time, it is still not suitable to return to full pre-injury activity levels. To understand why, let’s delve a little deeper into what is actually occurring at the site of the injury.
The phases of healing
In a muscular, ligamentous or tendinous injury, there are three phases of healing. Initially is the INFLAMMATORY phase, as the name suggests, the injured region is pro-inflammatory, and this is usually accompanied with pain in varying amounts. Following this, the injured site moves into the PROLIFERATION phase, whereby the injury begins to heal by laying down new tissue. Finally, the MATURATION phase works to increase the strength of the region, reducing its susceptibility to future injury. When we are discussing the “injury hump”, patients are usually somewhere between the proliferation phase and the maturation phase.
What will increase the risk or re-injury?
It is vital to note that rapid increases in load during this stage can rapidly increase the chances or re-injury. The injured region has laid down new tissue, but has not yet developed the requisite strength to cope with the external forces and load that it usually could deal with pre-injury. In the greater proportion of cases, one of the biggest risks to further injury is a past injury to the same region, and failure to take care during this “injury hump” is one of the key factors for that statistic.
During your rehabilitation, your physiotherapist will prescribe and progress exercises accordingly, based on what the inured and healing region can tolerate WITHOUT re-injury. Injury rehabilitation takes time, but the end result is what the focus should be on! Avoiding the risk of re-injury and ensuring your body is as healthy as possible is essential to improving long term outcomes.
If you have any questions regarding the “injury hump”, or feel like you’re suffering from an injury, book in online or call us on 07 3352 5116 to see one of our qualified physiotherapists today!
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