Sunday, July 17, 2016

Fear Is Your Biggest Enemy When You're Injured

Now that's gotta hurt (Picture from Ang Kee Meng)
Are you recovering from an injury or recuperating from a surgery? Fear plays an enormous role when you're recovering from an injury, especially a long term injury.

Trust me I've had 3 knee surgeries on my right knee. For a few years after my 3rd knee operation I was paranoid about the slightest pain in my right knee. I made sure I only ran on grass (less impact or so I thought), read every single published article on articular cartilage injuries (my condition) and did lots of deep water running.

I remember every time if someone on the bus or MRT stood too close to me (let alone bump into my knee) I'll give the person a dirty look and move away.

So I'm pleased to share that I'm not the only paranoid athlete/ person around. Researchers suggest fear can determine whether or not an athlete makes a full recovery. Some athletes even have "post traumatic stress" back to the moment they got injured.

In a group of patients recovering from an anterior cruciate reconstruction (ACL) reconstruction, strength of muscles around the knees, functional range of movement, level of activity and intensity of pain were measured over the course of their recovery. Researchers also measure levels of kinesiophobia, pain related fear of movement,

The most common reason for not having a full recovery was the fear of getting injured again. These athletes did not have higher levels of pain than others in the study, they were just plain scared.

The researchers concluded that their results show that physical impairments may contribute to initial functional deficits whereas psychological factors (or fear) may contribute to longer term functional deficits in patients who are still fearful of re-injury. This fear and/ or lack of confidence may be a barrier to future sports participation.

Addressing your fear, alongside the physical injury is critical for your recovery.

Oh, by the way I forgot to mention that I've also fractured my skull before and had a compression fracture in my lumbar spine as well.

Come see us in either of our clinics if you're struggling to recover from your injuries/ surgery from fear, lack of confidence or other physical reasons.


Lentz TA, Zeppieri G Jr, George, SZ et al (2015). Comparison Of Physical Impairment, Functional, And Psychosocial Measures Based On Fear Of Reinjury/ Lack of Confidence And Return-To-Sport Status After ACL Reconstruction. AJSM. 43(2): 345-353. DOI: 10.1177/0363546514559707.

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