Rehabbing an Injury

After last week got away from me talking about the neural factors in strength performance, I hope to keep it a little bit more brief today.  And what I want to talk about is how I specifically worked to rehab an injury in one of my few trainees.

The long and the short of it is that during a workout, they got all twisted up during a ball game and their limp on the left side indicated that something was injured.   A quick trip to the doctor along with some X-rays determined that, thankfully, it wasn’t an ACL tear.  Rather, the hip joint was injured and no surgery was indicated.

It didn’t appear to be too severe but I was told to bring them back if it wasn’t improving after a number of weeks.  Painkillers were provided to be used as necessary and the trainee used them fairly continuously for the first two weeks simply to facilitate overall daily activity without pain.

The next few weeks were fairly simple, the trainee was kept off the injured leg to as great a degree as possible.  Food was also kept high enough to ensure an optimal situation for tissue healing.  There was some fat gain which is never easily accepted by anyone but it was the price that had to be paid in the short-term.   You need an anabolic state to heal injuries and that means sufficient or a slight excess of calories.  I always shudder when I hear people ask about dieting when injured to avoid fat gain.  Because all it will do is slow healing.  The fat can come off later.

Perhaps the biggest issue was one of simple boredom.  Being on what amounts to chronic bed rest, especially when you’re used to being highly active, can drive the strongest mind crazy.  And with no insult intended, this particular trainee isn’t the sharpest mind to begin with.  I tried to find activities to keep them mentally busy but it was definitely a short-term band-aid situation.  There wasn’t much else that could be done.

After a few weeks, it became clear that the injury was getting better.  This was subjective on my part, observing the trainee’s movements, primarily walking.  Were they protecting the injured side, trying to limit pressure on that leg?  As I saw the trainee get to the point where there was no apparent asymmetry during walking, I decided it was time to gradually bring them back into activity.