How to recover from a sports injury.

A sports injury can be a frustrating setback for any athlete. It can disrupt your training routine and limit your performance. That is why you should know how to recover from a sports injury.
With the right approach to training and recovery, you can come back stronger than ever.

injured athlete lying on grass field
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What is a sports injury?

A sports injury is an injury that occurs during sports or exercise activities. They can range from minor cuts and bruises to more serious injuries such as fractures, sprains, strains, and tears in muscles, ligaments, or tendons. Sports injuries can occur for many reasons, including accidents, overuse, improper training, lack of conditioning, or inadequate equipment. The most common types of sports injuries include ankle sprains, knee injuries, shoulder injuries, and fractures.

At the end of the day, a sports injury will occur if your body experiences a heavier strain than it is equipped to handle. For example, if you suddenly start to run 10 km every day without giving your body enough time to recover. Such an abrupt increase in training might eventually lead to an overuse of your muscles or tendons, which will cause a sports injury.

Or if you lift with a poor lifting technique during deep squats. Which may lead to a higher strain on your lower back. If this strain exceeds your carrying capacity, you will experience a sports injury on your lower back.

injured soccer player with a doctor
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Training phases when you recover from a sports injury.

The goal after an injury is to return to the desired level of activity. This means eliminating pain and re-establishing functional range of motion, technique, and coordination. In addition, loss of muscle strength and fitness should be avoided as much as possible. Training/rehabilitation
can be divided into three phases. These often flow into each other. What determines whether you from one phase to another is not the time that has passed, but the progress the athlete has made in

  1. Acute phase: lasts a few days to weeks
  2. Rehabilitation phase: lasts from weeks to months
  3. Exercise phase: lasts a few weeks to months

The acute phase.

First things first: take the time to properly heal your injury. Rushing back into training before your body is ready can lead to further damage and prolong your recovery time. Follow your doctor or physical therapist’s recommendations for rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) to reduce pain and inflammation. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you need it – physical therapists, chiropractors, and sports medicine doctors can provide valuable guidance and treatment to help you recover more quickly.

Rehabilitation phase.

Once your injury has healed, it’s time to start rebuilding your strength and endurance. Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts over time. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t do the same exercises or lift the same weights as before your injury – it’s natural to have some limitations as you recover. Listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard, or too soon.

Your goal for this phase is to recover normal mobility, strength, and endurance. These elements are connected. Therefore I recommend that you focus on them in that order. You will want a full range of movement before you can fully recover your strength. Or it will be limited to a movement pattern that is not compatible with your technique. Your strength needs to be back to normal before you can fully develop your muscle endurance.

The Exercise phase.

In this phase, your goal is to fully recover your competition performance level. Gradually increase your training intensity to fit with your competition level and complexity.

For example, team sports players can start with fundamental drills and exercises. Then gradually begin with game exercises with fewer players, such as training games with 3 against 3. Then move up to competitions with all players on the field, but restricted to shorter playing time and lower intensities.

a woman holding his back
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Other recommendations for how to recover from a sports injury.

One effective approach to post-injury training is to focus on the muscles and areas of the body that were not directly affected by the injury. For example, if you injured your knee, you could focus on upper-body strength training or low-impact cardio exercises like swimming or cycling. This can help you maintain your fitness level while giving your injury time to fully heal.

Another important aspect of post-injury training is proper form and technique. Make sure you are using the correct form for each exercise to avoid putting undue stress on your joints and muscles. Consider working with a personal trainer or physical therapist to develop a customized workout plan that takes your injury and recovery goals into account.

Finally, don’t forget about the importance of rest and recovery. Your body needs time to recover after each workout, especially when you’re coming back from an injury. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and taking time to stretch and foam roll after your workouts.


In conclusion, sports injuries can be a frustrating setback, but they don’t have to derail your training completely. With the right approach to recovery and training, you can come back stronger and more resilient than ever before. Remember to take your time, listen to your body, and seek professional help if you need it. Happy training!