It is far too easy to simply stop all exercise when injured. This does not mean we want you to hop on a sprained ankle, but there are things you can do while recovering.
Unfortunately, if you completely stop exercise the body is quite unforgiving. If you don’t get moving, the science is quite clear:
- Joints around the injury, plus the injured joint, are likely to stiffen and lose their flexibility.
- Muscles around the injured site and other areas of the body are likely to weaken.
- Healing is likely to be delayed.
- There is a potential to lead to complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).
CRPS is an alteration in the nervous system following injury which causes an increased sensitivity to the affected area which can also lead to increased swelling, stiffness and stretched skin. For a specific example, a study by Moseley et al. (2014) showed “The incidence of CRPS in the 4 months after wrist fracture was 3.8%…” Fortunately Physiotherapy can provide benefit with advice about elevation, active exercises and a desensitisation program.
- Immune system may weaken.