You were diagnosed with a sports hernia, you had surgery, and now it’s time to take it easy and allow your body to heal. This may sound easier than it actually is, since athletes are accustomed to using their bodies all the time. Rest and downtime might not be a very welcome idea—but if you don’t follow your surgeon’s guidelines, you’ll increase the chance of re-injury.
The truth is, after sports hernia surgery, you will need to go through a six-week rehabilitation program in order to fully recover. This rehab typically includes plenty of rest, dietary instructions, and physical therapy—although every patient is different. This period of recovery is to help you gain back your core strength and get your body back on track.
Although the rehabilitation period is highly important, for many it’s a major exercise in patience—and often, athletes make themselves worse because they don’t follow their doctor’s orders.
Here are the biggest mistakes that athletes make after surgery. Don’t be guilty of these!
As mentioned above, many athletes get antsy and want their bodies to heal much faster than they are actually able to. During this time, patience is of the utmost importance. You will get better, but only if you allow yourself to. Resting and allowing your body to work through the healing process is crucial.
Do Your Exercises
Along with trying to start moving around too quickly, a huge mistake that athletes make during sports hernia surgery recovery is failing to do their physical therapy exercises. If your doctor has given you these to do…do them! These exercises are designed specifically for you, depending on what your particular injury and sport is. While the exercises may seem like a pointless chore, they are very important to your recovery. Take it slow, stay focused, and do any exercise that your surgeon has instructed you to do.
Listen to Your Body
If you feel like you’ve been making progress during recovery but then something starts to hurt again, listen to your body. Contact your doctor and have him or her check you out. Many athletes push themselves too hard during this time and their bodies suffer for it. In some cases, that six-week rehabilitation time can turn into eight weeks. This is fine! Everyone heals at a different pace, and the main thing is to take it easy and let your body have all the time it needs.
Communicate with Your Surgeon
The biggest problems regarding recovery happen when patients don’t communicate with their doctor. Never feel like you’re in rehabilitation alone. Work with your doctor throughout the process. He or she knows best, and when it comes to your one and only body, there’s no such thing as too much communication. A good sports hernia specialist will follow up with you regularly themselves, but you should always feel free to contact them on your end as well, even if you just spoke together five minutes earlier.
When your rehabilitation period is followed correctly, your body will recover properly and you can get back to what you do best quickly and safely.