A man depressed because of sporting injury.

The Mental Impact of Injuries: A Guide to Recovery


Simply scroll through the internet and you will find plenty of information on the physical impact of injuries- common examples include how to recover from types of injuries or guides on how to prevent injuries during workouts or specific sports. We even have thousands of useful injury guides and blogs on our own website that are particularly useful for those suffering from injuries or wanting to prevent them ourselves. However, for this blog, we wanted to take a moment to address the other side of injuries, something which is just as important when planning the recovery process – the impact on our mental wellbeing.

A footballer is sustaining an injury.

Injuries are a common threat that many athletes and fitness enthusiasts face when they regularly exercise or practise a sport. The sad reality is that many individuals who are passionate about their exercise schedule will push through the niggling pain of a small injury to accomplish their goals (which is arguably cardinal sin number one!) From over-exerting themselves, they face higher risks of more complicated injuries down the line. Ultimately, this can actually prevent them from practising their beloved sport, with some cases being an indefinite end. For those who dedicate x amount of hours a day to their fitness or sport, having to stop because of an injury can result in feelings of frustration and disappointment.

These intense emotions materialise because sports are a real self-esteem booster for a lot of people, particularly when they reach their goals. If an injury prevents you from succeeding, it can feel like your body is letting you down, which can have the adverse impact on self-confidence. While athletes who invest a lot of time and effort training and incorporate exercise as a significant part of their identity, it can strain the relationships with other athletic friends in their circle.

Exercise has also been proven, time and time again, to be a constructive stress-coping method to relieve the tensions that have built up from the day. Injuries that prevent individuals from exercising can actually take away the method in which their stress is dealt with, which in some cases, can result in intensified emotions.

Research indicates that injured athletes commonly experience feelings of isolation, fear, depression and anger- all of which can put a detrimental impact on both the physical and mental state of the body. As an athlete, the path of recovery you take is vital and can influence whether a full recovery is made or recurring injuries are sustained periodically. And while it’s important to understand the ways to alleviate and treat the physical symptoms, it’s also vital to repair the mental damage caused by a difficult sporting injury.

For those who are suffering psychologically from an injury, why not try the following method to ensure you R-E-C-O-V-E-R properly?

Rest

Rest is vital for both body and mind, particularly after an injury. Many fall victim to rushing the healing process in an eager attempt to get back on the field; this is a sure-fire way of getting another equally, or more, serious injury.

Evaluate

You will often find solace in the words of experts in physical, mental and sporting health. Make sure to have regular contact with the experts involved in your recovery plan and use their knowledge to construct an effective rehab programme.

Sporting team huddle.

Connect

Social support is an essential part of the recovery process, as highlighted by numerous research sources. Make sure to stay connected with your friends in the sporting world, whilst keeping friends and family members outside the circle in the loop. These means that you have support networks on both sides of the fence to discuss your feelings and progression with.

Opportunity

Take this recovery time as a chance to learn some new skills that don’t involve exercise. Perhaps there’s something you’ve always wanted to do but have never had the chance because you’ve always been busy with sports or at the gym. Goal-setting, something prominent in exercising and sports, can be applied to other practices and keep your mind sharp during your recovery stages.

Visualise

Just like you would do whilst exercising, visualise your end goal. Research has indicated that visualisation can help to aid the healing process, whilst also offering management of pain. By visualising your recovery, you will feel determined to follow the steps of recovery.

Eliminate Fear

Perhaps one of the most common fears amongst athletes and gym-goers alike is the fear of a recurring injury. This step requires individuals to focus on what they want to happen and not the negative outcomes they are afraid of.

Return to play

Sometimes returning to a sport or even to the gym can be a daunting thing after an injury has recovered. Holding off from participating will only increase these feelings of dread and anxiety, so it is important when accepted by a doctor, to return to your sport or gym as soon as possible. This doesn’t mean hitting the gym hard, but it will require you to take baby steps back to normality. Remember to always be prepared and be careful and take precaution to prevent a similar injury. Be sure to carry treatments, such as our cooling bandages, to help soothe any niggling pains you may get during your exercise.

For more helpful guides on sporting, injuries and gym-related topics, follow our blog. If you want to discuss more about injuries, get in touch with our team today.

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