Every day in the clinic we see people who have had injuries and so many of our patients have worked hard to get back to what they want to do, but often find that they are still breaking down with injuries (not always the same type of injury!), despite all of the return to sport work they have done.
The reason is quite simple… your body naturally takes the path of least resistance. For example, if you have injured your calf, and you have calf pain when walking, your body will probably find a new way to walk that isn’t as painful, but that avoids loading the calf as much. In doing so the calf becomes weaker (as it is being underloaded) and another part of the body is having to work harder to compensate, and so will probably become overloaded… thus putting a new area of the body at risk for injury. In this example, no matter how much you walk, your calf won’t strengthen sufficiently until you do some rehabilitation exercises.
Specific exercises to strengthen a weakened or previously injured area ensures that you are more likely to be able to return to normal movement patterns, without the natural ‘cheats’ our bodies use when we have painful, weak or damaged tissue. However, if we have used these maladaptive patterns for a long period of time, sometimes strengthening alone doesn’t mean we just magically start doing things properly, we have to unlearn the shortcuts! Physios are really good at watching out for these trick movements that we can do, and can give you great exercises to build you back up to functioning at your best. It doesn’t usually take all that long, and you won’t necessarily need lots of physio, your brain just needs a bit of training, and your muscles need a bit of telling where to go!
Give us a shout if you have any questions or need any advice!