As you all know, being highly active definitely has its vast benefits. Unfortunately though, many of us have experienced at some point or are currently experiencing an injury. The questions I often get are “How do I know when it’s time to return to running or sport and how do I progress back?”
Pain is obviously a great measuring stick. Pain basically reveals to us current or pending tissue damage. So using pain as your guide is one obvious tool. However, in the clinic we can use a few further useful tools to help determine readiness for return to the road such as a battery of functional hop tests for multiple sports. We also use a series of tests to see if the runner is ready to get back on the road.
As a profession, we are risk averse. However, as athletes and runners we are rearing to go in terms of progression. This mix allows us a very advantageous viewpoint to help people get back on the road and in the game effectively and safely.
Runners and field/court athletes alike need to have painfree general mobility prior to even thinking about returning to sport from an injury. Generally, for sports we definitely need the athlete to start in a non-competitive environment. We encourage very controlled and deliberate skill work in whatever the sport. We then want the athlete to progress into very short-sided and still relatively controlled work. As the athlete continues to progress in a painfree fashion, he or she can then open it up into a larger space and more competitive work.
As far as the runner is concerned, we want runners to start their return at a significantly reduced pace on a relatively flat surface (i.e. track). The runner can initiate a run/walk routine at a 1:5 ratio in terms of distance such as 1/10 mile jog to ½ (5/10) mile walk. This ratio can then be progressively reversed to 2:5, 3:5, 4:5, 5:5, 5:4, 5:3, 5:2, 5:1. As we always like to say, form should be emphasized more than speed. As the runner is able to have painfree form with increased distance, speed can be reintroduced.
Feel free to contact the SPI team at info@betterthemachine with your questions or if you want to set up an appointment to help you return to running or sport in a more effective and safer manner.