There Are No Shortcuts

What’s it going to be? The blue pill or red pill? If only it were that simple. These days society is always looking for a simple ‘fix’ to their problem, but often there are no shortcuts.

When it comes to pain and injury, it’s no different.

In the majority of cases, people attend our clinic because they have pain.

  • Pain from injury.
  • Pain from illness.
  • Pain from surgery.
  • Pain from overactivity.
  • Pain from unaccustomed activity.

The list goes on.

The inevitable question is then:

  • When can I get back to …
    • Walking?
    • Driving?
    • Gardening?
    • Swimming?
    • Running?
    • Sport?

I’d be asking the same question myself. Who likes pain anyway? It really gets in the way of life.

The problem is that we would all like our pain to be gone YESTERDAY! We are all in a rush to fast track everything. Perhaps it’s the Australian way. We come up with shortened words or nicknames; we want to get places as quickly as possible; and yes, we all want that magic pill to eliminate our pain.

From pain medication to cortisone injections, to prolotherapy, to alternative therapies to surgery, everyone is searching for an easy shortcut that requires minimal effort on our part.

Whilst reduction of pain is a major marker for improvement of symptoms and we all consider this a good thing, it’s not the only thing you should consider during your rehabilitation.

One of the common risk factors of injury is having had a previous injury.

  • Hamstring recurrence rate:
    • Hamstring injuries have up to a 32% recurrence rate across various sports.
  • ACL recurrence rate:
    • Athletes have a 4x greater risk of subsequent ACL injury if they haven’t passed a discharge criteria, and 79% of ACL reconstruction patients return to sport without passing strength and hop test discharge criteria (Edwards et al, 2018).
    • One in every three young people has a second ACL injury, many within 12 months of return to play.
    • Every month you delay return to sport after ACL reconstruction, the risk of re-injury reduces by 51%: until nine months post-operatively (Grindem et al, 2016).
  • Ankle Sprains:  Ankle sprains have a high recurrence rate, and 20% of general population and 30-50% of athletic population will go on to have chronic symptoms (Gribble et al, 2016).
  • Shoulder dislocations: Recurrence rates can be up to 70% in people under 20 years of age, and instability may continue in around 40% of people following dislocation.

So on top of wanting to reduce your pain level, you should be considering these questions:

  • Is my body ready to cope with the demands of exercise/work/return to sport or physical activity?
  • How can I prepare myself to perform at my best?
  • How can I reduce my risk of re-injury?

Evidence continues to grow for quality physiotherapy, education and a structured exercise program as being the most effective way to improve performance and reduce injury risk.

The time to return to activity/sport is not just when you feel pain-free. You need to prepare for the demands of your activity or sport, which means taking into account strength, stability, mobility and agility etc.

Your physiotherapist can guide you through the phases of injury and pain, and then progress you to building these qualities through a structured exercise program. Finally, testing can be performed to see how you are progressing towards your goal to ensure a safe return to activity, and most importantly a reduction in the risk of further injury.

So forget about the quick fixes. Look to get the best out of yourself by working hard to get the results!

About the Author:

Ryan Carroll is a Physiotherapist and Director at Physiotas.

Ryan is a Director of Physiotas and an APA Sports Physiotherapist. He studied his Bachelor of Physiotherapy at University of Queensland.  Ryan then worked for a year in a hospital before moving to Tasmania to join the clinic. He returned to Queensland for a while to complete his Masters of Sports Physiotherapy through La Trobe University. During this time his studies included stints at Richmond Football Club and the AIS.

Having lived and worked in Tasmania for over 10 years, Ryan now regards himself as a local! Ryan’s professional interests include sports injuries, adolescent/junior sport injuries, knee and ankle/foot injuries.

Ryan has worked with multiple local sports groups and is currently the Sports Physio for the Australian Under 19 Mens Basketball Team and the NthWest Thunder Basketball team. He also went away as part of the Australian team to the recent Youth Olympics in 2018.

Ryan’s personal interests include spending time with family and friends, running, cycling, mountain biking and surfing.