Relative Rest / Activity Modification for Sport Injuries

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Relative Rest/Activity Modification

All aspects of fitness and skills need to be maintained during rehabilitation from injury, if this is possible so that deconditioning can be avoided. A key element in the management of any sports injury is the modification of the activity that affects the injury. This may range from total absence from all activity to carrying out another sports activity to just a reduction in the amount of activity. The amount of absolute rest or relative rest will depend on the severity of the injury and what activities affect the injury.

This may involve:
• reduction in the amount of distance covered in training
• reduced frequency of training
• the use of flotation vests in a swimming pool to simulate running – deep water running is an effective method to maintain cardiovascular fitness in injured athletes
• jogging in place on a rebounder/mini trampoline
• cycling for runners
• swimming if weightbearing is painful

The use of cross training activities will have important psychological benefits as well as assist in maintaining cardiorespiratory fitness. The principles of specificity of training need to be considered in the use of substitute activities.

It is important that where possible that sports specific skills are used as part of rehabilitation – especially during the later stages.

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