This week we’re talking how to safely recover from an injury. As a lower extremity specialist, I treat injuries on a daily basis. Professional and world-class athletes certainly are not exempt from getting hurt. Earlier this year one of my most accomplished patients, Olympic Gold medalist Justin Gatlin, sustained an injury resulting in a torn hamstring.
“My hamstring injury set me back from being in the best shape going into nationals to make the world team. I was touch and go with this injury all the way up to race day. Dr. Lewis gave me the top care I needed to stay the fastest man in America,” Gatlin said.
That care included aggressive treatment by both his coach Dennis Mitchell and me. When he returned to the Track and Field World Championships, he ran away with the silver medal in the 100 meters, placing just behind Usain Bolt!
“My true fans and support system helps me through my difficult times. I try to model myself as a people’s champion and feed off the good energy of fans.”
And he has this advice for those of you struggling with injuries.
“Learn more about the human body in motion. Correct running technique prevents injury.”
In addition to correct technique, these recovery guidelines apply to ANYONE…whether you’re a mom with a jogging stroller or a famous track star.
1. Establish a relationship with a physician who has vast experience treating sports related injuries. It’s key the doctor be able to make a proper diagnosis and provide a list of restrictions. Word of mouth is great. Call local running groups or personal trainers for referrals.
2. Learn from your mistakes! Understand the possible cause of injury so you don’t repeat it. This is another reason you need to find an experienced physician.
3. Cross train, cross train, cross train! Yes, it’s critical you allow Mother Nature to mend the injured body.
But I often say, “Just because the tire is flat, it doesn’t mean the engine is broken.” You must maintain mobility and muscle strength by performing exercises that won’t cause further damage. Elliptical, cycling, and core-strength training are all good alternatives to running.
4. Maintain proper nutrition. The same way your body needs proper nutrition to fuel performance, it needs the right tools to aid tissue repair.
5. Establish a reasonable timeline of goals. This will allow you to slowly increase your return and keep you honest with training.
Like these tips? Share them!
Until next week, Shake it, Baby!
The Chia Doc