The answer to this question is yes! Do not use your injury as an excuse to stop exercising all together. But, you need to allow the injured area to heal properly even if it seems like it is taking forever!. Time-off is probably the most important part to healing. However, time-off is just for the injury, not for the rest of your body!
So, what exercises can you continue to do? That, of course depends on the injury. People often need to take up new exercise modalities that they have never done before.
First and foremost, follow the guidelines from your doctor and physical therapist!
Here are several exercises that I have used personally categorized by my injury:
Knee (ACL, MCL, Meniscus, or chronic knee pain): No impact cardio or low impact depending on the severity:
1. Swim laps with pull buoy between your legs. I actually did this every other day for 3 months when recovering from a meniscus tear!
3. Water jog either with straight legs or bent knees (if injury is not too severe)
4. Upper body strength exercises
5. Core and Lower body strength exercises (that don’t aggravate the injury)
6. Add stationary bike when healing has reached a certain point
7. Same with rowing machine
8. Same with elliptical machine
Plantars fasciitis: Any or all of the exercises above. Also, wear a splint every night. Buy a good pair of athletic shoes and wear them 24/7. It will take 3 to 6 months to be back to running again depending on how long you let it go before treatment.
Ankle sprains: I’ll admit that I do not typically give these a long enough time to heal 😦
Best advice is to do the above exercises and give it longer than 6 weeks before returning to running and lateral sports like tennis.
Shin splints and Calf Strains and tears: I’ve had these also… many a time through running on hard surfaces and teaching step classes. Calf tears take a long time to heal, so no running or high impact exercises for 6 weeks to 3 months (this includes all plyometric exercises because they require heavy use of your calves and shins. ie squat jumps, burpees, jacks, jump rope, etc)
What about yoga? Yoga could definitely be a good option because it is low-impact and involves lots of stretching. However, stretching can aggravate certain injuries, so depending on the injury, yoga and pilates may not be good options. Ask your PT.
See the article below for additional information about exercise during injury:
More to come…back, shoulder, tennis elbow…