Top 3 things never to say to an injured friend!

My working day varies between teaching Performance Yoga classes and treating patients in the world of Physiotherapy. To help those recovering from injury here are my top 3 tips on how to chat kindly to your friend going through the recovery process! 

Don’t say…

1/ How long before you can run again?

Even their medical team cannot be entirely sure about this question. As physiotherapists we work with the patient and scientific evidence to provide a guideline or framework for our patients with a graded return to running. But the body is not robotic machine and sometimes, in spite of our hopes, a person’s rehab may need to be modified during a treatment program depending on how the injured tissue responds. Asking “how long” to somebody puts them under pressure when so much of their recovery is out of their control, driving the injured party into further despair. Instead, how about asking “How are you feeling about it now?”

2/ Have you tried ice baths, orthotics, platelet rich plasma injections, etc.?

This advice is normally well meaning to your friend and with their best interests at heart. But your injured friend is frustrated and possibly low in spirits. Offering general treatment options to them can be overwhelming and leave them out of pocket and disappointed with the results. Instead, ask an open ended question about their recovery plans giving them an opportunity to talk and maybe vent a little! Sports Physiotherapists are constantly updating their treatment options and learning new skills. Each patient is treated on an individual basis. Physiotherapists will discuss a variety of options for treatment finding the package that their body will respond to best. What may have worked for you is not guaranteed to work for your friend.  That said if your friend has been going to someone for weeks and seeing no improvement as expected, suggest that they consider changing their treatment approach.

3/ Nothing!

Don’t say nothing at all! If this is one of your running friends, recognise that they may miss meeting up with you and perhaps suggest that they join you in your exercise class, cycle, swim etc. Maybe this is the perfect opportunity to start some cross training, something you’ve been meaning to do for a long time. Cross training has the potential to build muscle strength to improve your running economy. Getting in some low impact exercise during the week is a great way to protect your joints. Every cloud!

Orla Crosse is a Chartered Physiotherapist and Yoga Instructor. She treats patients and teaches weekly Sports Performance Classes in Limerick and Clonmel. Orla has an upcoming Sports Performance Yoga workshop scheduled for Dublin on Sat 1st April 2017 in Personal Health Rathmines. We’d love to see you there. Get in touch for more info: orla@performanceyoga.ie.

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