When you’re getting back into your workout regimen or your favorite sport after injury, it’s important to take it slow. You need to listen to your body; it will tell you when you’re pushing too hard.

Here are some steps to consider when coming back:

Take it slow
You take it for granted, but your body and your brain have a hotline of communication between them when you’re exercising or playing a sport. Through disuse while you were recuperating from injury, those channels have been silent. Unless there has been nerve damage, they will come back to their former level, but don’t rush them.

Start with walking
Don’t return by jumping right back out on the court. That’s a recipe for re-injury. Start with walking or swimming. Both are natural movements that don’t involve jarring stops and starts.

Strive for a lower level
You may not even realize how much you’ve missed what your injury has caused you to miss — whether it’s walking the course, cycling with your friends, or the routine of going to your gym. But when you come back, now matter how eager you are to re-engage, strive for only 80% of what you think you can do and work you way up from there.

Consider working with our PTs
Sometimes when returning from injury, you’re not sure what you can do and what you should avoid. Especially after an extensive period of inactivity it can be very helpful to work with one of our physical therapists. They will determine the areas where you are weak and possibly prone to re-injury, and will develop a program to help you regain strength and flexibility in those areas.

Don’t ignore the pain
No pain, no gain may make some sense for a high-level athlete, but for most people pain is a signal that you are pushing things too far. This is especially true when returning from injury. Don’t play through pain, as it will likely slow your recovery or put you on the sideline again.

If you have any questions about what you should do when returning from injury, call the experts at Great Lakes Orthopedics. We’ll help you get back out there in a sensible way.