There are some big misconceptions on the quickest way to recover from an athletic injury. The first stems from confusion in words quick and easy. They are not that same at all. The second stems from thinking that quick also means free. The reality is that there is no way to get solutions for anything that is quick, free, and easy.
Most of the time it will cost you a lot of money, but be both quick and easier. It can be easy and free but not very quick. You can often get two of the three but never all three. The quickest way to recover from an athletic injury requires a sacrifice of one if not two of these items.
Which Way is NOT The Way?
The go-to for many athletes after an injury is ice. Ice can be a great start to healing an injury, but there are a lot of studies coming out saying maybe ice is not the best way.
The body is smart, and it does things for a reason, and swelling is a part of this. By interpreting the bodies natural response to swelling with ice, it may do more harm to the injury process.
Even if you don't believe that science has been wrong about ice, it does not change the fact that ice is not a magic healer. If you roll your ankle and ice it every day for the next two weeks, you are still susceptible to hurting yourself again.
Ice is step one, but not step one through ten. It cannot strengthen, stretch, rehab, massage, or do anything else to move you closer to being healthier. Ice just numbs the pain and stops inflammation. If you are looking for the quickest way to recover from an athletic injury, Ice is not the lone solution.
The do nothing approach comes from medical doctors looking to save their ass in the US. People in the US love to sue doctors for anything that they can and what this has done is make doctors conservative. Doctors don't want to get in trouble for being wrong, so they tell people to rest and take time off.
If you roll your ankle or hurt your back, you could be told to rest. Just take time off until the pain goes away and then jump back into the action and hope it does not happen again.
Doing nothing does allow things to heal. I am not saying rest is terrible or is never the answer. The problem is that it does not address the cause of the problem. For example, let's say you have shin splints because of calve tightness. If you take time to rest, your calves will still be tight, or they will get tight again when you come back.
The rest may allow the injury to get better, but the injury is just begging to come back when rest is the only plan. Active rest is a much better form of rest because your body still needs stress and blood flow to improve.
When you don't use something, you lose it, and this is the last thing you want as an athlete hoping to come back stronger. Doing nothing but rest is not the quickest way to come back from an athletic injury. It is the quickest way to heal, but the injury will most likely come back.
Ignoring The Injury
Another tried, and true way to fail with coming back from injury is just to continue like nothing ever happened. I have done this way too many times through my career. It never ends well! When you are hurting, it is your bodies way of telling you that you need to do something about it.
When you ignore these signs, your body will only respond by sending louder and more painful signals. You will never enjoy this path, so your goal should be to avoid it at all costs.
One thing I have tried hard to change with Kho is helping athletes to avoid ignoring injuries no matter how small or insignificant they may seem. The reason this message is so important is that as an athlete you always lose.
Acting like injuries don't exist, so you don't miss practice, or a game is a very short-term mindset. Short term thinking helps you in the now, but you end up paying a steep price for it later. Ignoring injuries is not the quickest way to recover from an athletic injury.
What Does The Path Look Like?
The path includes the combination of these three main points below. You need a diverse team of people, the right tools and resources, and a daily work ethic to find your quickest way to recover from an athletic injury.
#1. Sports Med Team
The first step is having a team of people with different expertise and experiences that can help you. This can include, your athletic trainer at school, a chiropractor, a physical therapist, a sports doctor and so many other professionals.
The mistake a lot of athletes make is feeling like they can only see one person or having one person in their Rolodex and this is a big no-no. Growing up in Toronto, my brother and I had two massage therapists we would see, and three chiropractors.
That does not mean that we saw them all every week or even every month, but after a while of working with them, you start to learn each of their strengths.
By learning their strengths, you realize when they can help you and when you can't help you. The more people on your team, the less chance you have of being in a situation where no one can help you.
Having a team that can evaluate you, and put their hands on you is by far the easiest and quickest way to recover from an athletic injury. It will cost you money though, but if you are looking for a quick route, that money will be well worth it.
#2. Get Educated
The most prominent benefit I gained from seeing all of those therapists when I was young is all that they taught me. I know a lot about injury prevention now because I listened to these people and what they had to say. I did not take their words for granted. I realized that the more I learned from them, the better I would be at keeping myself healthy.
You may not know a lot about the human body today, but the more you see therapists and ask questions the more that will change. You don't need to be an expert, but you want to know the basics so you can get yourself out of tight spots.
#3. Tools and Resources
You are going to need a lot of tools and resources ready at your fingertips. Our favorites are listed below.
- Foam Roller
- Golf Ball
- Stretching Bands
Kho The Injury App
Kho will help with zoning in on your injury answers or get second opinions from those outside of your network. Kho is for finding new therapists and tools to join your team.
The reality is that you are on your phone a lot every day anyway. You may as well use it to get healthy and learn more. The app allows you to ask any injury question and get the help that you need.
You should have a foam roller that you carry with you everywhere. A foam roller is not perfect, but they can hold you over until you can see someone on your team. Using it daily also gets you in the habit of taking care of your body.
The golf ball is the foam roller for your feet. You want to make sure that you are using this morning and night to make sure your feet are free of tender spots. If your feet are having issues, it will work its way up your body.
These stretch bands can make stretching fun and exciting. For some reason, many athletes view stretching as a chore, but once you get these bands, you will want to stretch as much as you can each day.
Daily Work Ethic
Last but not least you're going to need to have a strong work ethic. The quickest way to recover from an athletic injury is not reliant on other people. What you need to be healthy is to get off your ass and do the work.
Your team of therapists will give you thins to do on your own, and you need to do them. You will develop a routine of stretches and exercises that work to keep you healthy, and you need to stick to that method.
Too many athletes want someone else to do all of the work for them. The problem is that no one feels the pain of injury like the person going through. Other people can help you, but they cannot care about you being healthy more than you do.
- 1Stay off the wrong paths that lead to nowhere
- 2Build a sports medicine team
- 3Get yourself the right tools
- 4Work your butt off
The quickest way to be healthy involves using a team of professionals, the right tools, and your insane work ethic altogether. On their own, they are never as strong as they are if you put them together.
Injury can be the most frustrating thing an athlete goes through. To combat this, you need to give everything you have to get all three of these areas going. If you are not able to do that, it does not mean you will not be healthy. It just means you will not be following the quickest way to recover from an athletic injury.