Getting injured is one of the worst things that can happen to any athlete. Not being able to compete and perform is disappointing for everyone, and can be even more frustrating for martial artists in the middle of tournament season. However, there are ways that you can quickly recover from your martial arts injury so you can get back to training.
Here’s what to do:
1. Get Medical Help
When you do get injured it is important to identify exactly what happened instead of making assumptions based on where the pain is. A medical professional, such as a sports doctor or physiotherapist, can determine the exact source of pain, and help you formulate a plan for rehabilitation and recovery. With their guidance you can take care of your body appropriatly, and lessen any potential negative side effects of the injury.
2. Learn What You CAN Do While Recovering
Not all martial arts athletic injuries require bed rest, so ask your doctor the following questions to learn what you are allowed to do while out of competition. That way, you won’t waste time while healing and can get back to training as quickly as possible.
- How can you train around your injury?
- If your shoulder is hurt, can you perform lower-body workouts?
- If you are unable to lift weights, can you do cardio activities such as swimming or riding a stationary bike instead?
- If your knee is torqued, can you perform upper body workouts?
- Can you do ab workouts?
- Can you use this downtime to develop your flexibility?
What is important to remember here is to do your rehab work FIRST, and THEN slowly get back into the dojo. Don’t try to rush through recovery or push through the pain, as that will only slow you down in the long run and potentially lead to further injury.
If you are expected to be in recovery for a long period of time, you can even ask your doctor about pursuing a martial arts discipline that is easier on the body, such as Tai Chi or Aikido.
3. Adopt a Positive Mental Attitude
It may be difficult for you to remain positive while recovering, but having such an attitude will help you feel better and heal faster from your martial arts injury. Instead of focusing on the fact that you can’t compete or train like normal, focus on how you are currently being proactive while in recovery. If you’re fired up about your therapy or training-around-the-injury workouts, then you’re more likely to do the work that’s required to recover from your injury. Focus on the progress you’ve made and make the little voice inside your head a source of optimism. If you convince your mind that you’re healing, then your body will believe it and act accordingly.
You’re getting better, so be glad! Remember that while you’re an injured athlete, you’re still an athlete. So stay positive, stay busy, take control and take heart! Find out what your body requires to heal and do all you can to provide it.