Unfortunately for every athlete that sees us early in the rehab process and get amazing results there are ten who see us after their rehab has failed them. Their results are mixed at best.
These walking (or in many cases limping) cautionary tales remind us that not all rehabilitation cases are created equal.
Botched rehabilitation programs are tragic not just because they are a waste of time, money and hope, but also because sometimes they are career-ending. Rehabs that don't go well usually have some of the following flaws:
1. Athletes who don't do their physio homework
It's amazing how many people tell me the exercises the physio gave them didn't work when the truth is the athlete didn't do them properly, or even at all. They are often pretty embarrassed when we make them do exactly the same movements the therapist asked for!
2. Athletes who follow calendar rather than competency based progressions
Often these same athletes will tell me "its been 12 weeks since my surgery so I'm starting running next week."
These guys are just crazy.
Calendar-based rehab is foolish and harmful and and we hate it.
Competency-based rehab on the other had is great. Walk before you can run, squat before you can jump, more haste, less speed. These are the principles we follow to get our athletes stronger, faster and better quicker than they otherwise would have.
3. Inappropriate return to play schedules
Surgery > Nothing > Physio rehab > Contact sport.
This is not a safe schedule.
4. Missing the low hanging fruit
The concept of the low hanging fruit is one popularised by tech/business people in Silicon Valley and it is basically the idea that the first thing you should do is look for the high value but low effort target. The metaphor for this is a juicy apple hanging at head height rather than the one at the top of the tree requiring a ladder. There is not a week that goes by that myself or my staff don't see a new rehab client where the low hanging fruit (the simple thing) has been completely missed. The low hanging fruit might be kid returning from a stress fracture of the foot with all this rehab under his belt but no one addressing the root cause which was his flawed running technique. It might be the girl with the sore shoulder doing a ton of rotator cuff and scapular retraction work battling against the tightest pecs in the universe.
The hallmark of great rehabilitation
Great rehabilitation programs involve diligent competency focused athletes who patiently master each level of their rehab before progressing to the next and then return to play in a gradual and progressive manner. From our end they also involve coaches searching for the low hanging fruit and chasing the perfect rehab progressions.
At Core Advantage we only like doing great rehab, so get in touch if you want to return to play stronger, faster and better.