Athletes of all kinds push themselves to the limit and find themselves stuck on bed rest due to joint pain or injury. From "overuse" injuries like tennis elbow to acute fractures and ligament tears, joint injuries stop hobbyists and professional endurance athletes alike from reaching their goals. While it's true that you can't rush the healing and resting process, there are things you can do to make sure your joint pain goes away as soon as possible without compromising your health or the strength of the joint. Work these four techniques into your recovery and you'll be back at your favorite activity in no time.
How you react to the joint injury or arrival of pain in the first hours affects the entire recovery time. For example, using a cold pack on a sudden sprain or strain can bring down swelling and reduce pain within 20 minutes. Waiting weeks to see a sports injury specialist about a traumatic injury only further complicates the damage, making it harder to heal and prolonging your recovery. Even if you fear the need for surgery or something similar, it's better to address the injury immediately rather than allowing partial scar tissue to form while you're still in pain.
Once the worst of the injury has healed, going in for routine physical therapy appointments is one of the best ways to prevent muscle atrophy and conditioning loss. This is essential for endurance athletes, but it's useful for anyone spending time in a cast or sling. The physical therapist will also teach you the limits of your joints and how to adjust your posture, movements or stances during activities to prevent a re-injury. If the injury has a permanent effect on your performance, the therapist will help you find ways to work around the limitation without putting stress on the joints.
Nothing compares to the restorative power of rest. For a serious joint injury, this may mean spending weeks in bed to immobilize the joint or at least wearing a restrictive sling that makes it hard to get dressed or prepare food. Getting help from a family member or hiring a caretaker can help you to stick to your doctor's recommendations for rest, speeding up recovery.
Supplements and Dietary Improvements
Sometimes joints give out in the middle of race or game because they're not being supported with the right nutrients, minerals and compounds. Taking an inventory of your diet can help you pinpoint what's missing. For example, a lack of Vitamin D3, Calcium, Omega 3s or Selenium can all lead to weak or painful joints. Blood work will confirm your suspicions and allow you to pick the perfect supplements for restoring your health. Of course, many supplements and vitamins are best absorbed when you have specific combinations or dietary additions like healthy fats. If you're not sure where to start with supplements, visit us at ProLine Sports Nutrition!