Returning to sport: Are you really ready?


Sally Pearson broke the news that she will be unable to defend her 100m Hurdles Olympic title after tearing her hamstring whilst returning to running from a wrist injury. With many of us looking to return from injury to participate in outdoor activities and spring sports. The question we all have to ask is – are you really ready return to your activity?

  1. Muscle function – Recent research has placed a lot of importance on ensuring that both the effected and un-effected limb have similar if not the same muscle function in your specific sport. Research suggests that you can only have a maximum difference of 10-15% between the 2 limbs. The 3 functional measures you need to be equal in are: strength, agility & muscular conditioning . This is very hard to detect by yourself and you will need the assistance of a physiotherapist to ensure you’re within these ranges for each functional measure.
  2. Progressive re-training – At inform we see the common mistake of people returning to activity too quickly after an injury. The most common scenario is those who have been wearing a moon boot for a lower limb fracture. People often receive a boot without the appropriate knowledge that they should be given. After wearing a boot for 6 weeks, the ankle joint is very stiff, it hasn’t taken the weight of your body for 6 weeks and the muscles decrease in size and strength. People who begin running straight away after the 6 weeks, often come in with muscles injuries soon after. Athletes are no exception to making this mistake, with Sally Pearson being the perfect case in point. After breaking her wrist in a training fall a few months back, Sally was unable to prepare to her usual standards and hadn’t achieved the required training load necessary to avoid injury. Unfortunately for Sally, her wrist injury had actually prevented her from running the required volume she needed and had placed too much strain on her hamstrings which hadn’t been given the appropriate loading and recovery which subsequently tore soon after.  If this is something you are concerned about, or are currently in a boot, please give us a call to arrange an appointment and we will ensure you return to performance in a safe and timely manner. 
  3. Psychological readiness – It’s impossible to seperate what is going on in the individuals head from what is happening in their body. The term ”It’s all above the shoulders” is highly under-rated in athletes readiness in returning to sport. Not being confident on a previously injured joint can pre-dispose the athlete into compensating and over loading the un-affected limb. Athletes should be aware of any natural signs of unease such as hesitation when taking off, not committing to a tackle and avoiding any particular skills or drills associated with training prior to commencing competition. There is a clear difference between returning to sport and returning to performance and your physcial readiness is essential to being mentally ready to perform.

If you’re concerned about your readiness to play, please don’t hesitate to book in at reception on 9543 1888 or booking online on the home page.