Whether it is a torn muscle, rolled ankle, broken bone, when damage occurs to our body, our body naturally starts putting down collagen, (our body’s brick and mortar) to repair the damage. What is important to ensure is that this collagen has a design to follow to match the rest of the body and heal properly. The best way to do this is to apply the right amount of load through the injured area to further stimulate collagen production and direct it to line up with the rest of the surrounding tissue.
What is load?
Load is putting force through a structure. Exercise is a great way to generate force and load various structures. So, by exercising the injured area, you are loading it and promoting it to heal the fastest and strongest way possible.
Let’s consider a torn hamstring, the muscle fibres within the hamstring run vertically along the body, by exercising the hamstrings, specifically strength exercises more collagen fibres are laid down in a vertical direction which then becomes useful tissue rather than a bundled mess of scar tissue which is useless.
As a constantly injured child and current physiotherapist, I see how a patient’s perception differs from a practitioner. As a child, I saw many physiotherapists and I was always led to believe it was the ultrasound machine, massage or taping which was the most beneficial, with my home exercises perceived as an adjunct treatment. The reality of it is it’s the other way around. If you have an injury, you need to load it. It may be the least exciting of the treatments however the evidence shows it’s the best and most important treatment to ensure a full recovery.