In an article from Outside, journalist Christine Yu discussed the effects of the fear of reinjury. When discussing sports injury prevention strategies, dealing with and overcoming this fear can’t be ignored.
Oftentimes, these fears aren’t taken seriously, even by the people experiencing them, because mental barriers aren’t considered important. However, although fear is a mental barrier, studies show that it can have physical effects on the body as well. In fact, according to Dr. Melissa Christino, an orthopedic surgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital, this fear not only affects motivation and confidence but can have an impact on body mechanics as well. This can set up athletes for reinjury even after full recovery.
Studies on Fear of Reinjury
Experts will tell anyone recovering from an injury that returning to their sport or preferred activity is an important measure of success following treatment. For example, even when surgery effectively repairs a damaged ligament, only 44% of these athletes return to a competitive level of physical activity. Of this group, 24% reported that it was largely a fear of reinjury that held them back.
Another study also found that this fear affects the success of rehabilitation. This study also found that addressing this mental barrier led to greater rehabilitation success.
These studies show us that when determining injury prevention strategies, mental barriers must be addressed. Athletes and physicians need to work together to get back to the level of confidence they had prior to injury and overcome fears of reinjury if we want athletes to successfully return to activity.
Addressing Fear of Reinjury in Sports Injury Prevention Strategies
A key takeaway from this article is the fact that fears and mental blocks simply can’t be ignored when helping athletes recover from injury. It’s important to understand that the psychological effects of an injury impact and change how an athlete will physically perform. For both patients and physicians, these fears need to be addressed. Too often, patients will try to ignore or simply push past their fears without directly addressing them. However, your physician can’t help you overcome your fear if they aren’t aware of them. Open discussion of your fears when returning to activity and working through rehabilitation will go a long way in increasing your likelihood of success.
Kelsey Griffith, a performance and rehabilitation specialist also discussed how important it is for patients to normalize rehabilitation. Every athlete will sustain an injury at some point, so rehabilitation shouldn’t be seen as any different from regular training. Approaching it with this mindset can make it less daunting and reduce your fears as a patient.
Get Sports Injury Treatment in Delaware County
At the Center for Sports Medicine and Wellness, our doctors are committed to providing our patients with the most effective and advanced minimally invasive and non-operative orthopedic medicine. Our doctors pride themselves on being at the forefront of leading-edge orthobiologic treatments and advanced sports medicine. We also treat all patients, regardless of their fitness level. If you’re suffering from pain or an injury that can be treated by our services, we’re here to help! Whether you’re an elite athlete, recreational athlete, or an everyday professional, we treat all of our patients with the same passionate care and attention to detail.
We are one of Delaware County’s premier practices for non-operative and minimally invasive sports medicine treatment. If you’ve sustained an injury and are looking for a treatment that can get you back in the game with minimal downtime, contact us by calling our office in Glen Mills, PA, at (610) 459-4200 or filling out our form. We welcome your inquiry and we look forward to helping you get back to achieving your best!