Your Injury Isn't Over Just Because You're Pain-Free

Have you, or someone you know, ever had a sports injury serious enough to require surgery?.
If so, then you know the return-to-play process starts under your doctor's care. Eventually, you'll be sent to physical therapy to regain range of motion and strength around the injury site.
All the while the hope is that your pain symptoms gradually are eliminated while you return to your previous movement capability.
Today we know that just being pain-free doesn't mean you're not at serious risk for another blowout.
In fact, the research is clear that the 2 greatest predictors of a future injury are:
1) A previous injury
2) An asymmetry in mobility, strength or power
Once it occurs, there is nothing you can do about #1.
There is, however, a lot you can do about the second.
An injury knocks off the balance you need to move fluidly, and even in the best rehab program it is quite difficult to return to perfect symmetry.
If you follow their program properly, PT's can dramatically lower your risk for another injury by recovering most or all of your strength, power and range of motion.
Unfortunately, in many cases insurance coverage expires before a return to full symmetry takes place. PT ends and an athlete is cleared to play, but they aren't 100% symmetrical in their underlying skill set.
And so, they are at risk of another incident.
If you truly want to minimize your risk of another setback you need to continue to train mobility, strength and power with an emphasis on getting each side of your body to work just as well as the other.
You can do this on your own or with a qualified professional.
Either way, you need to accurately analyze how close your range of motion is on each side when you stretch. Put extra time into the tighter side.
Same goes for monitoring strength (single leg or single arm DB or KB movements are best, not barbell) and, if it was a lower body injury, 1 leg jumping power. Monitor and train out any large differences.
Imbalances left untreated can cause you to favor the stronger leg, putting it under more stress than it can handle. In fact, most re-injuries happen on the other side of the body.
Avoid the trap of thinking you'll be fine just because you're pain-free.
Put in the work to minimize your risk, and you'll have a much better chance of avoiding problems in the future.

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