The term ‘rehab’ is most frequently applied to drink or drug-related recovery programmes, but it has a much broader application than that. A rehab programme is recommended to anyone recovering from illness, injury or surgery. Attempting to do things the same way as you did them before illness or injury can actually harm a body still recovering its full strength.
Rehab is short for rehabilitation, which comes from the Latin word “habilitas”, meaning to make able. The goal of any such programme is to make your body able again; that means giving your body the highest possible level of function, independence and quality of life.
It’s not only top athletes or footballers who merit the care and attention to return them to their previous form. It’s important to look after your body carefully during recovery to ensure that you return to the same level of physical ability as before – if not a higher level.
When many of us get an injury, such as a sprained ankle, we remember to rest it for a few days. But as soon as the ankle starts to feel better we go back to our regular level of activity and forget about our injury. However, the body takes longer to heal than we may realise. This means that by overworking the affected area we can actually prevent the injury from healing completely. Scar tissue may form, meaning that the area has less mobility and is weaker – making it susceptible to further injury.
A physical therapist can help you devise a training programme that will bring your injured limb back to full strength in the long term.