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Contact Me:
Tripti Gyan MCSP HCPC Reg
Chartered and State Registered Physiotherapist
Nottingham YMCA Health and Fitness
4 Shakespeare Street
Nottingham
NG1 4FG (map)

Tel: 07866 464 385 (Within the UK)
Tel: +44 (0) 7866 464 385(Outside the UK)

Email: tripti@triptigyan.com

Rehabilitation: Points to consider during the rehabilitation process

In the first of our series of posts on rehabilitation we take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions we get at TG Physiotherapy Care when patients first come through our doors and the factors that influence our assessment of injuries.

Gentle cycling for rehabilitation

Rehabilitation time

"When will I get better? How long is this going to take to heal?"

The honest answer to this common question is that rehabilitation time is very much dependent upon the individual. Every patient who walks through the doors of our clinic is unique. And no two people with the same diagnosis will have an identical or parallel path to recovery.

Take a Grade II sprained ankle as an example: the treatment and rehabilitation plan may be the same for two patients, but the recovery time will be different if -

  • One patient has a higher natural fitness level than another;
  • One patient has a history of ankle sprains and the other does not;
  • One patient is required to be on their feet all day at work, while the other can control how much they move and 'rest' their ankle throughout the day;
  • One patient follows the rehabilitation exercises daily whilst the other regularly forgets to perform them.

One thing all patients do have in common, however, is that they want to get better quickly and experience as little pain or discomfort as possible in the process.

In a fast moving world where everything is instantly accessible at our fingertips, the thought of a long, slow rehabilitation process can be incredibly frustrating - not to mention painful. But it is crucial that patients do not rush their bodies and attempt to force the injured area back to normality before they are ready.

One regular piece of advice that we give patients at TG Physiotherapy Care is that attempting to do too much too soon can set you back days, weeks or even months on the road to recovery.

One of our recent patients summed up how they came to terms with the limitations of the rehabilitation process:

"Everyone wants to have some level of control in their lives. But the greatest control you have is over your own reactions. And to achieve that, you need to acknowledge that there will be times in your life when you have to move to a different pace."

There is no quick fix in rehabilitation, just regular treatment, effective injury management and best practice to encourage the healing process. Although physiotherapists possess a detailed understanding of the normal biological healing processes and time frames, experience has taught us that we should only offer estimations rather than exact dates.

Sports Rehabilitation

On almost a weekly basis we are asked, "When can I run/play football/hit the gym again?" Advising patients on returning to sport differs from making recommendations on returning to work or continuing with daily life. Because sports and exercise may put much more demand on the body, we will typically be more cautious in our recommendations.

Why? Because we consider our job to not only be about treating an injury, but also about helping clients keep further injuries at bay and reach their peak performance. As most sporty individuals will know, rushing back from an injury and exercising too soon can easily aggravate a problem and lead to, at best, a niggle that affects performance for weeks or months, or, at worst a complete repeat of the injury.

So what does a physiotherapist take into consideration when assessing a patient's injury?

  1. Initial inflammation processes - Knowing what is happening from the first few minutes, hours and days after an injury, through to the following weeks, months and even years is essential;
  2. Injury classification - The different classifications of bone, ligament, tendon, muscle and nerve injuries helps us to estimate rehabilitation timeframes dependent upon the mechanism, type and severity of the injury;
  3. Research on post-injury 'return to play' - This helps to answer questions on when a patient can return to daily activities, work, and sport (usually in that order). This is a massive topic and there are thousands of different injuries and guidelines which are always being updated in light of new clinical research studies;
  4. Clinical experience - The more a physiotherapist or medical professional treats a particular type of injury, the better they get at knowing the time it takes to recover because of pattern recognition.

Even with all of this information to hand, there are still many other variables that can affect healing and recovery times, both physical and psychological. Having an understanding of everything from medications to emotional stresses, co-existing medical conditions to past experiences can all play a role in rehabilitation.

Suffered an injury? Book an appointment with TG Physiotherapy Care today.