I grew up in a small town in Ohio (I’m not as old as the attached picture). I think I gained a lot from those experiences. I learned the importance of work ethic among many others. Maybe the most important lesson I learned is accountability. If you did something wrong or did something poorly, everyone knew you, and so everyone knew about it. You had to do things the right away. You name and reputation were at stake.
I think about those same things in sports rehabilitation. Of course the athletes (and parents and coaches) want to get back to competition as soon as they can. That is what I want too. But, you can’t cut corners.
You must regain ALL of your range of motion, strength, balance, endurance, etc before you can expect to complete rehab, prevent another injury, and play the way you expect. If there is a physical limitation or pain, even if very minor, it WILL lead to an athletic compensation. This will affect health and/or performance. For instance, in the lower extremities, even the slightest limp will lead to some change in movement patterns. It will not be optimal, and maybe it will let you down at the time you need it most.
It is best to FULLY rehab. Get everything better. The let your motor plans normalize. Then you can trust your body again and go play automatically and naturally the way you did before the injury.
Sandy Koufax once said it was an ankle injury that ended his career as a dominant MLB pitcher for the LA Dodgers. It wasn’t his arm. The ankle changed his movement patterns, he compensated, his arm became painful and injured, and his performance suffered.
We work through this process with every athlete. Just don’t cut corners. Do things the right way. Call me and I will help you through this as well.
The small town folks will be watching!!!
Kash Eagleton, DPT, SCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Sports Physical Therapy Specialist