If sports are a big part of your life and you’ve sustained an injury, you’re probably champing at the bit to return to your sport. While each person’s injury is unique, how will you know when it is safe to return to playing sports again?
Keep in mind that returning to your sport too soon after an injury can make you prone to reinjury – and lifelong complications and chronic conditions. On the other hand, you’re very aware of the fact that waiting too long to return to the sport can lead to deconditioning.
Let’s talk about some of the main factors your doctor and therapist will consider when determining whether you’ve healed enough to return to the sport.
Type and Extent of Your Injury
Is your injury due to a traumatic event, or was it caused by overuse? Overuse injuries typically heal more quickly and may resolve with conservative methods, such as physical therapy and over-the-counter treatments. Traumatic injuries typically require a longer recovery period, often taking months before you can return to playing your sport again.
Severe pain requires an immediate medical evaluation; don’t wait and see whether it gets better. Mild to moderate pain usually means that the injury is not severe. However, an internal injury oftentimes doesn’t cause much if any pain, which is why it’s so important to have a medical evaluation if you have experienced blunt-force trauma – such as a skiing injury in which you fell and hit your head on the ice.
If your mild to moderate pain does not improve with over-the-counter treatments after about a week, see an orthopedic doctor before it becomes a chronic condition. The physician will explain your options regarding pain treatments.
Guidelines for a Safe Return to Sports After an Injury
Here are a few indicators that it’s safe to return to playing sports after your injury and recovery:
- Absence of pain
- Absence of swelling and inflammation
- Restoration of full range of motion
- Regained strength
- Weight-bearing on injured area without an effect
Even if the pain has subsided, reintroduce activities slowly. Take extra care with the injured area for several months.
Check with Your Physician
Although you’re looking for this information online, the best way to determine whether it’s safe for you to return to sports activity is with the evaluation of a health professional – preferably a doctor who specializes in sports medicine. The physician will likely perform tests to determine your readiness to return to play.
Sports Injury Treatment and Rehabilitation in Central Maryland
For advanced orthopedic care and treatment of sports injuries, the sports medicine specialists at the Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland will help you return to your sport after being injured. For your convenience, we have extended our urgent care hours to better serve our patients with orthopedic injuries.
If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, you may reach us by calling us at (410) 644-1880 or (855) 4MD-BONE (463-2663), or request an appointment online now. We look forward to seeing you and helping you get back in the game.