Most people do not take the time to allow their body to properly and fully heal from an injury. It takes some persistence and time and you have to give the body the respect it deserves. But, most of the time, we rush back to life and sports way too quickly and the injury doesn’t fully heal. Then, we are shocked when it gets re-injured again, or if we are slower or experience pain for years afterward.
I can tell you that in every single case (no exceptions), it is always better to take it slowly and let your body fully heal. If done correctly, the body can actually be stronger than before an injury, especially if you take the time to address what may have caused the injury in the first place.
For example, with sprained ankles, you will have reduced lateral motion and balance. You can’t just ignore that fact and think it won’t hurt you down the line. In other words, you can’t just lay your ankle up and rest it and think that in two to four weeks, you’ll be ready to go once the swelling has gone down. No… You have to address these things during the healing process, because that’s when your body needs that rehab the most. If you don’t do anything, the scar tissue and damage will just settle in and keep your ankle weak forever.
Another thing… an injury should not be looked at as a pain in the butt. It should be looked at as the exact opposite. It is a forced rest for the body, a chance for you to give your body a nice, long rest and take care of it. We ask so much of our bodies and very rarely take a little time out to rejuvenate ourselves and get the body back into balance. An injury forces you to do this, so take the time to do it right. It is important to keep this perspective, so that you aren’t rushing back too soon.
Remember, if you rush back too soon, one of two three things is going to happen:
- You will re-injure the same place again.
- You will be slower and in some pain for a very long time.
- You will injure another part of your body, because you will be favoring an injury that has not fully healed.
When you add up the lost time and reduced performance, it is much, much longer than just taking a little more time to heal properly. Obviously, this is not just about a sprained ankle. This can apply to any injury. But, a sprained ankle is especially easy to use in this example, because they happen so much and most people don’t think of them as a serious injury.
From years of experience, I can assure you that sprained ankles are a serious enough injury to require the time and energy it takes to fully heal it. If you don’t, you will experience many more sprained ankles, reduced athletic performance and possibly some knee injuries as well. It’s definitely NOT the road you want to go down.
So, please… if you have a sprained ankle, take the extra time necessary to strengthen ankles and heal 100%. Heal those ligaments, increase the strength and range of motion so that when you go back to life and sports, you aren’t in pain and you aren’t favoring it. You should be back at 100% and ready for anything. And like I said before, if done right, your ankles will heal a sprained ankle fast and actually have stronger and more stable than before your sprain. And that’s what it’s all about. Letting your body heal and getting stronger from the injury, not weaker.