The age old question: when can I get back to training?

It doesn’t matter whether you run, swim, kick, lift or throw, injuries are often debilitating and infuriating when your goal is to get back to a beloved activity as quickly as possible.

Injured physio patients tend to go through a modified Kubler-Ross five stages of grief; firstly denial, then acceptance, followed by anger, depression and finally bargaining.

A colleague of mine once snapped his Achilles tendon dancing at a wedding yet proceeded to hobble around for three days with a massively swollen leg in complete denial of his injury before finally ‘accepting’ the inevitable truth as he mounted (and subsequently fell off) a jet ski!

Anger at the cause of one’s injury and a mild dose of depression often ensue before someone faces the music and books in for their initial physio assessment.

Which brings us to bargaining!

It never ceases to amaze how detailed diagnosis and prognosis of serious injury leads some patients to ask, ‘soooo can I still play X tonight?’.

Bad news can be overwhelming and while most people ‘get’ you’ll be out of action for six weeks or more if you break a bone in your leg, many struggle to appreciate similar rules apply for damaged joints, tendons, muscles or ligaments.

Thankfully multiple studies demonstrate physiotherapy can facilitate optimal return to activity (within the biological constraints of human tissue repair) and reduce the likelihood of re-injury.

Determining readiness to return to play remains one of the most challenging yet important aspects of rehabilitation.

Stress an injured body part too vigorously and you risk damaging healing tissue.

Too weakly and injuries may not have recovered sufficiently for the rigours of your chosen sport.

Finding the return to play ‘Goldilocks zone’ is crucial and involves a combination of orthopaedic tests, functional or sport specific activities, subjective evaluation and clinician experience.

Nothing upsets us (or our patients!) more than a failed return to activity so be assured the physios at Leichhardt Sports Physiotherapy have your best interests at heart if they tell you to hold back for one more week before returning to play.

Your body will thank us later.