Post by Foot and Ankle Rehabilitation Australia physiotherapist and sub-elite hurdler Steven Ooi
It’s no fun having to reflect on my extensive inventory of injuries, but each time I do, it allows me to learn more about rehabilitation from a patient’s point of view. Suffering an excess of soft tissue injuries and stress fractures, the number one thing I have learnt which I try to communicate to my patients is – consistency and continued consistency. My rehabilitation process and success of my treatment are often dependent on my mindset and outlook on my situation. I have found that I tend to cycle through a set of mental stages as I come to terms with my injury.
Stage 1: Distress, frustration and sadness.
Through experience, this early stage usually doesn’t last long. However, it is an important part of accepting the effects that the injury will have on my training and competition status.
Stage 2: Motivated, enthusiastic and driven.
After the shock of an injury, the injury usually drives me and motivates me to become stronger and faster than I was. This will reflect my consistency of completing rehab.
Stage 3: Return to normalcies.
When I have persisted over the injury and almost forgotten about it. Return to regular training.
The most challenging transition for me as I return to high-level sport is the transition from stage 2, to stage 3. It is the point of rehabilitation where I start to integrate normal and regular running training and move away from the specific injury rehabilitation provided by my physiotherapist. It is here where I start to lose my consistency of the smaller aspects of strengthening and injury management. The biggest reason for this is the absence of pain as feedback and thus less motivation to continue those exercises.
What I have a learnt, and experienced is that to continue to prevent reoccurring or new injuries we must be diligent in the small 1% exercises of our rehabilitation.
Stay consistent and stay driven.