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Moving Towards Health

Returning to full strength

Maggi Fitzpatrick
Posted 4/9/24

One of the most frustrating and unfortunate parts of exercise is injury. While there are many precautions we can take to try to avoid it, there is always a chance that something unexpected happens. …

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Moving Towards Health

Returning to full strength


One of the most frustrating and unfortunate parts of exercise is injury. While there are many precautions we can take to try to avoid it, there is always a chance that something unexpected happens. 

While being injured will inhibit our ability to exercise and move for a little while, it’s important we don’t let fear stop us from returning to our favorite activities altogether. 

Many people will experience some sort of acute, musculoskeletal injury in their lifetime. When it comes to these non-severe injuries, such as a sprained ankle or pulled muscle, we’re usually pretty much on our own with handling them. There isn’t much our health care providers can do, unless we choose to pay for physical therapy. Even then, most of the recovery process is up to us. Because of this, it’s also up to us to choose whether or not we let this injury hold us back for longer than it needs to. 

A few weeks ago, I sprained my ankle playing in a co-ed soccer league. I was defending a player on the other team who was looking to take a shot on goal. I stuck my right leg out to defend the shot, and the impact of the ball hitting the outside of my foot caused my ankle to buckle, and I left with a lateral ankle sprain. It swelled up immediately, was very painful, and was difficult to walk on. Over the course of the next few days, the swelling, bruising, and pain peaked. 

I knew it was important that I took care of this injury properly to ensure I’d be able to return to physical activity as soon as possible. 

In order to do so, I needed to follow an acronym you probably are familiar with: R.I.C.E., which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Something I have learned from previous experience is that following this protocol works, if you actually take the time to implement it. 

Because it was my ankle that was injured, resting meant walking as little as possible. This was difficult, but was also very important to the healing process. I needed to force myself to sit as much as I could with my ankle wrapped, elevated, and with ice on it. In the past, I hadn’t been very disciplined about actually following these instructions, but this time I was, and it led to a pretty fast recovery time of two and a half weeks. 

Although I’m still experiencing slight bruising and occasional pain on contact, I was able to play basketball again just three weeks later. 

Following the R.I.C.E protocol thoroughly will help your body heal quickly. Once we start to notice improvement, it’s important we begin to put the healing part of our body back to work. If we do not begin to move it to increase range of motion, increase strength, and regain flexibility before we feel 100 percent ready, we will build up a barrier of fear. 

The longer we wait to start, the bigger the fear becomes, and the less likely we are to return to activity.

I see too many people experience such an injury, and then let the fear take over. They decide they no longer can do anything because they experienced an injury. If we give our bodies the opportunity to rest and heal, and then begin to slowly put the area to work again, we can build it back up to full strength in a relatively short amount of time. 

These types of injuries shouldn’t sideline us for the rest of our lives, and it’s up to us to make sure we choose not to let them.

If you’re feeling unsure of when and how to move your healing body again, be sure to reach out to an exercise professional who can help you. Sometimes a little support is all we need to get moving and feel confident again. 


Coach Maggi 


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