Golden Rule of Foot: As soon as an injury occurs, restrengthening of the muscles in the area involved should begin.
As I have mentioned in an earlier blog, injury treatment normally begins with an Immobilization Phase (where muscles weaken). At some point after the acute pain has normally subsided, the Restrengthening Phase begins. Sports Medicine tries to blend those phases together so that there is less weakness setting in, and a shorter rehabilitation with less flareups. But what kind of strengthening exercises can you do when you are in pain???
First of all, let us look at the types of strengthening exercises available. Starting with any of these, as long as they are pain free, can prevent or slow down muscle weakness. The 6 basic types from easiest to hardest are:
- Active Range of Motion--simply moving the muscles without resistance.
- Isometrics--the muscle tightens but goes through no range of motion.
- Isotonics--a fixed weight or amount of resistance is placed on the individual muscle/tendon
- Progressive resistance exercises--the resistance is not fixed and can be varied by tension or the strength of the person (usually against a stretch band).
- Functional/Dynamic Exercises--where the muscles/tendons are exercised in groups, normally with some weight bearing
- Isokinetics--muscles are strengthened around the same motion (speed) with variable resistances set (normally done in physical therapy offices, but has been less popular).