Sports Injury Rehabilitation – Hacks To Deal Psychologically


Sports Injury Rehabilitation

Welcome everybody to inspiring fitness lessons where I talk about the most common and ignored mistakes, we commit during our fitness regime.

I promise to help you take out a few points which may help you make a better person not only in sports but in personal life as well.

One such common failure that every person would have faced anytime during lifetime is the sports injury.

The most of sports injury rehabilitation programs don’t address the emotional aspect of athletes in the sports and fitness fraternity. They fail to provide quality care for sports injury, including emotional wellbeing. The physical therapy is just not enough.

Infact, who would like to dream about those ruptured cars?


And that’s the reason we as a bodybuilder, athlete, and hobbyist are least prepared for those hay days.

Let me explain to you, in broad terms, and there are two types of injury as per sports science based on emotional value.

  1. Sports Injury with emotional setbacks
  2. Sports Injury with no psychological consequences.

An example of a 2nd injury type is any sports injury for which we are not emotionally attached. If you are doing any sports such as running, badminton, or bodybuilding just for fun without specific or time-bound goals, it won’t worry you much, even if the injury keeps you away for a month.

No strategy or coaches are required here, just take rest and recover, right!

1st injury type is when your career, goals, and livelihood is at stake with that injury. If your identity is a sport and the world around you know you by your game only, then this issue becomes way more severe.

As per famous saying by sports medicine physical therapist Mimi Renaudin

When any sports injury occurs, then not just the limb gets injured, the athlete’s trust and confidence in that limb is damaged, too.


I quickly walk through the technical aspects of injury

Based on technical terms, a sports injury is divided into three grades based on the gravity of the injury

Grade 1 Sports Injury –

Each Muscle is composed of thousands of muscle fibers. The muscle fibres are the cylindrical tubes running inside the muscle with biomechanical motors placed head to head inside the muscle fibres. Those motors are called sarcomere in technical language.

Anyhow, if 5 to 10% of those muscle fibers are affected due to injury, the movement and strength is not lost completely. You can still do daily chores and can recover within a week or two.

Grade 2 Sports Injury 

Here, more muscle fibers are damaged, causing limited motion and loss of strength. It takes anywhere from two to three months to recover from a sports injury.

Grade 3 Sports Injury

This grade of sports injury is way more severe. Here either complete muscle or tendon gets damaged with swelling.

Tendon here refers to the elastic material which connects every muscle to the bones of the skeleton inside our body. Such kind of sports injury often requires surgery to re-join muscle or reattach tendon with the bones.

Now you have a better idea about technical and emotional trauma around sports injury.

Let us move to our main concern area, which is emotional trauma during sports injury rehabilitation.

Allow me to break down the what, why, how of this subject into interesting sections to keep you engaged and focussed.


1. Why does sports injury happen in the first place?
2.Why sports injuries become so complicated?
3. Hacks to deal with sports injuries
2.Final Words


The injury never builds up overnight. There is always some internal work towards untoward damage going on before it breaks the ice. If we understand the source, we can manage the source in a manner to prevent injury from happening in the first place.

Here are some psychological factors for sports injury out of many for damage –

Lack of strength and flexibility 

It is a universal truth that maximum injuries happen during the preparatory phase of bodybuilding and athletic sport. When you are just starting as a newbie, you do not have experience. As such, catching that sweet body shape makes us impatient, and injury occurs.

According to,

Many athletes sustain muscle injuries when they just begin a training regimen. That is why they are much more common in training camps in the NFL than they are throughout the regular playing season.

Muscles drive the entire skeleton and joints, and if your muscles are not prepared enough for the burden, injury is waiting to happen.

Flexibility plays a crucial role in injury prevention.

By flexibility, I mean the stretchability of tendon (which I explained to you earlier). Muscles never stretch, but tendon/connective issue can. More flexible you are, the rate of increase of tension over the joints decreases.

Flexibility means that joints are less likely to face sudden abrupt pressures from muscles and exterior reasons due to the presence of a highly elastic link between muscles and bones, which is a tendon.

Interesting take on me– I started running as my new found passion, and within a month, I was gifted a beautiful injury in shape of knee pain. Then I shifted to cycling as a forced passion. I spent some considerable time in that arena. I moved back to running, improved a hell lot, but again I was given a pleasant surprise in the form of knee pain after a few half marathons. There is no shortcut for anything.

Unrealistic goals

A lot has been covered about goals in the article based on my own practical mistakes in this article – Is it ok to workout without any goals?

I believe a lack of knowledge plays a crucial role in helping you take such an immature goal that I laugh at after years of training and experience.

Bones, muscles are not made overnight, and they are not a software or tool which can be remodeled into a better version in a few months. Giving ample margin and doing sports as a seasonal activity provides the body with time to recover and rejuvenate.

Interesting take on me– One day, I decided to build a shredded body with 6% body fat within a year or so without knowing the implications of diet, volume, and economics of that and cause, a nicely packed present was waiting for me a few months later at the gym entrance. I hope, you understood!

Fear of re-injury 

This factor is more on the emotional side. The psychological injury outweighs the physical harm always. An athlete, once injured, can’t come out of the trauma of injury in his brain. Mental injury impacts his performance and behavior.

The more is the psychological association with the sports, and more we get driven into its trap. We start behaving in a way that once injured organ is least burdened. Such, over rehabilitation and underutilization, causes imbalances causing injuries again.

Interesting take on me– I am yet to recover the trauma of knee pain and haven’t gathered enough courage to take on running again as my primary sports activity. It feels awful to be honored with such injuries over and over again.

Let us move to our most important question …


The more you indulge in emotionally, the more you suffer.

Hey, there is nothing wrong with loving and thinking about your passionate fitness goals and trying to achieve them. Wrong is when you forget that injury is also one of the milestones. We should accept sports injury proudly as a platform for learning to respect your body genetics and revisit the history for loopholes.

Here are the two most common factors that make healing from injury so complicated–


Fear of losing fitness 

As per painscience

Peak performance may get affected, but the majority of your fitness is quite stable and hard to lose.

You won’t lose as much fitness as we assume after a few months of rest. When you make a comeback, the scenario is entirely different as compared to when you were a newcomer in fitness. Now, you are more experienced, developed patience, and muscles are not new to a higher workload.

Anxiety of losing identity

This kind of feeling mostly happens with more serious athletes playing at a professional level whose identity is defined by their sports within their social circle.

The anxiety of being away from the game, being a mute spectator to the game you love every second, is a huge factor.

Depression and continuous denial of injury result in inadequate recovery, thereby lengthening the process way beyond the ideal healing time.

Interesting take on me – Even though I never looked upon running as my profession, yet I was so obsessed with running that I would continuously keep criticizing myself with frequent signs of depression.

It takes decades to build up a physique just like we train our brain through education. I never imagined that fitness is such a vast subject and became curious to learn it more over the years.


Dealing with sports injury emotionally and physically are two different sides of the same coin. Here as per the subject of this article, I shall stay on the emotional or psychological approach to sports injury rehabilitation.

Here are some psychological ways for sports injury treatment with which we can manage injuries.

Shift the Gear at the right time

There is no denying in the saying that injury takes its own minimum time to recover. Worrying about damage and hurrying to comeback only worsens the injury.

It is always better to instruct your mind to shift fitness goals from better performance in sports to recovering from injury as a next target.

Taking this difficult time as an opportunity to socialize with friends, family, and pursuing other hobbies, makes its rehabilitation far more straightforward process.

Funny Fact

I have seen the cases where people though unhappy superficially, find it as an excuse to leave the sport forever. Such behavior may happen due to lack of will power or forced passion like cycling in my case. I hope you are not the one like mine. Anyway, I admit, I still like cycling very much but who cares.

Visualize the recover process 

This method is not new and applies everywhere. It basically means to be optimistic. Just imagine yourself coming back into action with much more enthusiasm as a failure does allow rebuilding the foundation even stronger.

Visuals trigger brain neurons way faster than anything else and keep you super motivated.

Set your recovery goals

It looks strange to set goals for recovery, but it is crucial.

Several scientific pieces of research have proven the impact of psychological alarms in pacing the progress of performance and recovery.

Though it is tough to forecast the improvement, you can get the rough idea of recovery time in consultation with experienced athletes or coaches or a practitioner.

Further, divide your goals into mini-goals and track the progress to keep you in an elevated mood. Better mood relaxes the muscles allowing them to recover speedily.

Go for active recovery

It is not that you have to lay down on bed straight for three months in a row. It is only in case of grade 3 injuries, as I highlighted at the beginning of this discussion.

Rest is the best therapy, as you all know, but that doesn’t mean you have to be on the bed for days before you land feet on the floor. It means you need to provide adequate rest to the healing muscle fibers while providing them sufficient stimulus in the way that helps muscle cells to grow again.

If you have ever noticed, after older people have undergone a knee replacement, doctors don’t advise them to take a complete rest. Instead of movement of muscles during the early stages of recovery increases blood flow to the injured areas.

In the presence of oxygen, stem cells around those affected areas rebuild them in a fast manner.

Make a backup plan

Back up idea may sound hurtful to some of you, but it is practically required.

More dependent you become on anything, more painful it is to part away from that activity. Always keep a backup plan ready in your diary in case of adversity.

Though you may never have to switch over to the backup plan as a career, it just improves your sports performance by reducing anxieties, fear and keep you distanced from the risk of obsessing to your fitness identity.

By now, I have given ample details into the recovery from a sports injury.

Here are my final words to implement somewhere in life. I hope you don’t have to.


This world is driven by two words ‘HOPE’ and ‘PATIENCE’.

Hope is the steering and patience is the seat you sit in. It is easier said than done.

Personally, after facing several setbacks, I have learned to take failures as pride and testimony of my struggle. I always find sports injury rehabilitation as the best school for learning new things.

Sports injury assessment should include psychological factors along with the physical grading of injury for rapid recovery.

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