How long do you wait?

‘When can I safely return to sport?’ is one of the most common questions on our patients’ minds after injury. In an otherwise healthy person, we classify someone as ready when the risk of injury is equal to the injury risk of the opposite uninjured limb.

The type of injury you have suffered will have a specific healing time – sometimes, you just can’t beat the biology – time, and knowing how much, is one significant factor that will dictate your time out of sport. For example fractures vs joint sprains vs tendon tears. Each have differing healing time frames that must be respected for safe return to play. In some instances a surgical opinion may be necessary.

So what can happen if you return quickly?

Returning to sport too soon may delay the healing process, prolong pain and put you at greater risk of re-injury. There are many horror stories of sports people returning to play too soon and suffering from re-injury shortly afterwards.

“One that comes to mind is a client who was too eager to return to netball after a moderate lateral ankle sprain and dropped out of rehab on the basis of being pain-free. During the first quarter she re-injured the ankle and wound up progressing an ankle sprain into a ligament rupture.”

We often see clients who are inclined to ‘self-discharge’ from physio when the pain subsides. However, they may not be ready to return to sport.

The take home messages here are:

• Absence of pain is NOT an accurate indicator of your readiness to return to sport safely.

• Tissue healing, range of motion, strength, balance, proprioception and retraining sport specific skills
are equally as important for a safe return to sport.

How can we help?

Here at Fluid Physio + Gym we aim to guide you through a tailored return to sport program aiming to restore the tissue tolerance so it is comparable to pre-injury level. Some of the key steps towards a safe return to sport include:

1. Restoring pain-free full range of motion
2. Regaining strength
3. Restoring balance & proprioception
4. Sport specific skills training

Step 5, return to sport testing, is crucial in determining if it is safe for you to return to play. These tests are designed to put you under controlled situations that you will likely encounter in game play to test the confidence, control and safety of your recovered limb. Your physio will take you through a battery of tests specific to your chosen sport before deeming you fit for game play.


If you are recovering from an injury and wondering when is the right time to return to play come in and see the team at Fluid Physio + Gym. Contact us on 6646 3766 to book an appointment.