While every injury requires some form of down time in order to heal properly, remaining active after an injury is just as important. Depending on your injury, more or less rest may be required before you’re on your feet again. Advice from a doctor should always be taken before starting with any kind of activity, exercise or physical therapy.
After your doctor has given the proper approval and when you’re ready for the rehabilitation process, it’s important to know which exercises can help you rebuild your strength. Your doctor is likely to advise, however, there are helpful types of exercises that can keep you active, even while you’re still in the healing process. Be sure to check out these 6 helpful exercises to assist you and support a full recovery after you’ve been injured.
For ankle and foot injuries…
Non-weight bearing cardio– After your doctor gives you approval to exercise again, consider using the rowing machine, a stationary bike or even swimming. These exercises are non-impact, so they can help you move through an injury naturally, helping to increase range of motion. It’s also crucial to stretch muscles and even foam-roll over injured areas before and after exercising to help increase range of motion.
For knee injuries…
Wall squats– Wall squats are great for building quadriceps strength and are important for creating a strong foundation of stability surrounding this hinge joint. Press your back against a wall and begin to squat, keeping your knees tracking directly over your ankle joint. You may deepen the squat as time passes, but never allow the knees to glide past the toes.
Hamstring curls– After you’ve strengthened the quads, try some hamstring curls, first without any weight and eventually working your way up. With stronger quadriceps and hamstrings, the knee joint can also become stronger and more stable.
For shoulder injuries…
Side-lying external rotation– When some range of motion has been brought back into the shoulder, incorporating gentle strength building exercises can be a good idea after approved from your doctor. Lie down on the side opposite your injured arm and rest your head in your hand. Hold a light dumbbell in the hand of your injured arm with your elbow at a 90-degree angle. Rotate your arm toward the sky and stop the rotation if you feel pain, hold it here for a few seconds before lowering the dumbbell back to the ground.
For back injuries…
Pelvic tilts and bridges– Alleviating pressure from the back typically requires strengthening the abdominal muscles. This helps create stability, mobility and movement through the torso. Exercises like pelvic tilts can bring awareness to the low back and pelvis. These subtle anterior and posterior movements can help reawaken the range of motion. Hip bridges are another great way to bring awareness to this area and start to create some strengthening through the gluteus muscles.
Core strengthening– After the range of motion has been increased, more abdominal strengthening movements can be incorporated. Marching hip bridges, elbow to knee in bird dog, and 90-degree leg slides or bicycle kicks are great options.
A Final Note
Keeping an open line of communication with your doctor is an important aspect of your recovery. Be sure to trust your doctor’s word as a means of assisting you in your recovery time. Always speak with your doctor before moving forward with exercise after an injury. It’s important to allow your injury to heal and get the proper amount of rest before strengthening is incorporated. Listening to your doctor and abiding they their advice will be a key part in your recovering process.
If you were injured at work, you may be entitled to workers compensation. See a doctor immediately if an injury occurs as you are likely to be compensated for any medical needs including surgery and physical therapy. Ensure that you communicate clearly and thoroughly regarding in your injury so that your medical professional can evaluate to the fullest extent your condition.
It would also be a helpful note to keep a personal log of any doctor visit, emergency room visits and so on to further support your case in any such event. Your doctors will also have your visits on file as a means to keep records of your injury and your progress.