| DoctorHelps | Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
I see many patients each week who have injuries. Many of these are sports injuries. A catalogue of twists, sprains, strains, bumps and bruises.
Some patients want to get back to their sport as soon as they can. They want to get better as quickly as possible and want some pointers. Here they are;
If it aches try it
If it is a sharp pain - then don't do it
Think about what the injury is telling you. The body is giving you a jolly clear signal not to do stuff until you are properly better.
But when will it be better?
This of course depends on what you've done. Listen to your body. It gives you hints. And is often right.
An inflamed joint will take a couple of weeks to go down. An inflamed cartilage in a joint will also take a couple of weeks to go down. This will take longer if you are using the joint and be longer still if you are very active on it.
So for the knee, this will improve in a couple of weeks if you've bruised the menisci from a twisting injury. But if you walk on the leg each day as most of my patients do, this may then take several weeks or even several months in its recovery.
Most of the people I see don't allow themselves enough rest.
Don't forget that when you rest, your calorie output massively decreases and you will need to adjust your food intake down too.
Muscles tears need to be rested. Think of them like bundles of thousand of fibres. Some of which have been torn. Fibres ripped and torn will mend. They will knit together by magic. Which is nice.
But not if you are repeatedly pulling the ends apart. This is what will happens if you keep using it. Surgical cuts to the muscles heal rapidly because the wounds are so neat. Your tiny (or not so tiny) tears in the muscles will take a little longer. So help your body. Rest the muscle and let the torn ends do their knitting.
DOMS feels different. Delayed onset muscle soreness tells you that you've overworked a muscle or muscle group. This isn't a bad thing as it gives you good clues about just how hard and far you can push yourself. If you have are working hard at your limits you can expect to have this from time to time. DOMS heals in two to five days (depending on severity of damage, how fit you are and if you can put up with a bit of discomfort in your next training session - if it is DOMS, this is not harmful).