Thought I'd put a piece up on here and share some knowledge as I do get asked about it a lot over text, Facebook, email etc. What am I talking about? Picking up an injury that doesn't stop you running or playing sport but you know that it is there. What do you do?
It is fair to say that runners and rugby players (to a lesser degree) do have a habit of making their injuries worse and as a result stay injured for longer because they tend to suffer from denial.
I can categorically say that if you do some low cost simple things early on into the lifecycle of a niggling injury, you will drastically reduce any time that you have to spend on the bench down the line.
In my work I think it is fair to say that a lot of the injuries I see could have been dealt with and would have healed quickly if they had been treated in the first 24-72 hours. My favourite low cost tool that is readily available to everyone is ice. If you've been to see me you know how much I go on about icing even when you aren't injured. Other helpful tools are ibuprofen in the first 48 hours to reduce inflammation (assuming you can take it) and some foam rolling around the injury site but not through it. Some people might think ibuprofen is a bit controversial but you do need to reduce the swelling (assuming there is some) as quickly as possible so that the injury can be worked on. Lymphatic Kinesio taping is also great but you'd need to see me for that in all likelihood. If none of the above works in the first 72 hours then ring me. Ring me anyway but start your rehab early. Don't wait for the appointment to roll around.
If you are forced to take time off from your sport please make sure your rehab programme doesn't have you coming back too early. You don't want to pick up an injury related injury purely because you felt you needed to make up for lost time. Also you need to resist the temptation to keep feeling that you need to test the injury. You are only delaying the process of healing by doing so.
Bottom line is that when you do pick up an injury you only want to rehab once. One comeback. So don't rush it. Maybe there is something in realising that injury doesn't mean you are a failure. What it is, is an opportunity to work out why something happened and as a result how to do something better.
My last thought is about those rehab programmes that you do whilst injured and then discard when "fit" again. Don't. Keep working on your weaknesses, keep developing your core and challenging your muscle groups outside of your normal activities. It ultimately means fewer injuries if you do.