Having a joint injury can interfere with your usual workout routine. Depending on the severity and type of injury you have, you might not be able to exercise as you normally would until you’re fully recovered. When you’re eager to get back to your exercise routine after a joint injury, keep the following tips in mind.
Check with Your Doctor
Before you begin to do any kind of physical activity after a joint injury, you should talk to your doctor. For minor injuries, you might need to make slight adjustments to your usual workout routine. However, with major injuries, especially those requiring surgical treatment, you’ll most likely need to allow your body time to recover before working out again. Your doctor or orthopedic surgeon can provide you with advice on when you can start exercising and what kinds of exercises are safe. Following your doctor or surgeon’s guidance can help you avoid injuring your joints again.
Start Exercising Slowly
If you were used to running a few miles or doing a rigorous workout routine before your injury, you’ll need to wait before attempting that again. After a joint injury, such as a knee or back injury, you’ll need to ease back into a workout routine slowly. Your doctor might recommend starting out with simple stretches or other easy exercises that won’t strain your joints. As your body heals and you become used to exercising again gradually, you can ask your doctor about doing more strenuous exercises.
Warm Up and Cool Down
When you’re used to exercising, you probably already know that you should warm up your muscles beforehand and cool down afterwards. Doing warm-up exercises, such as stretches, helps reduce your risk of tearing a muscle or other tissue while you work out. You should spend roughly 5 or 10 minutes warming up before you exercise. At the end of each workout, you should spend another 5 to 10 minutes cooling down with stretches. Warming up and cooling down can be even more important after a joint injury, since these short sessions help protect you from additional injuries.
Limit Exercise Time
As you recover from a joint injury, you should keep exercise sessions short. This helps you avoid overdoing it and injuring the same joint or another joint. Talk to your doctor about how long your workout sessions should be at first and how to gradually increase exercise times.
Pay Attention to Your Body
While you might have some discomfort when you exercise, you shouldn’t experience severe pain. If your affected joint or any other part of your body begins to ache beyond slight discomfort, you should stop exercising and rest. If the pain lasts over an hour afterwards or if it’s severe, you should talk to your doctor and avoid exercising until it’s safe to do so again. Your doctor might recommend resting for a day or a few days, depending on how you’re feeling.
If you need help with a joint injury, please contact Huntington Orthopedics. We can provide treatment for your injury and help you ease back into physical activity again with physical therapy sessions.