One of the first things people want to know after they have injured themselves is‚ how long will it take for this injury to heal.' There are many factors which contribute to our bodies healing including (but not limited to) the type of tissue damaged, the extent of the injury, age of the injured person, the level of activity the person is aiming to return to and the level of commitment to the rehabilitation program.
Type of Tissue Damaged
Our bodies are made up of many different tissues including muscle, ligaments, tendons, nerves and bone; each of these tissues heal at a different rate. For example, muscle tissue tends to heal more quickly than ligaments and tendons due to their rich blood supply. In contrast, cartilage contains no blood supply so will take even longer to heal and sometimes is unable to repair itself. Whereas nerves that are severed may grow back, but this is a very slow process. Nerves are estimated to grow at a rate of 1mm per day meaning that recovery from some nerve injuries can take months to years; a lot longer than other tissue types.
Furthermore, within each type of tissue there are different grades of tears that may take place depending on the severity of the injury to the tissue. Your Physiotherapist will need to assess your injury in order to decipher how much tissue damage has taken place and take this into account accordingly.
As our age increases, so does the healing time of our injuries. This is due to a combination of things such as diminished antibody production, a slower functioning endocrine system and a slower inflammatory response. Our age also makes us more likely to suffer from chronic diseases, some of which are mentioned below under 'Other Medical Considerations.'
Other Medical Considerations
Medical conditions can change the rate at which our body is able to heal. For example, peripheral vascular diseases that reduce the blood flow to an area will slow down the speed of healing. Other negative medical conditions which may increase the time it takes for your injury to heal include; Diabetes Mellitus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It is best to discuss any medical conditions you may have with your Physiotherapist to help create realistic healing expectations.
Commitment to Rehabilitation Program
Whilst it is up to your Physiotherapist to guide you through a rehabilitation program that is catered to your needs and injury, it is up to you to commit to and complete it. Communicating with your Physiotherapist is key to setting up a realistic therapy and exercise schedule that also takes into account other life commitments such as work, study and family.
If you need a realistic timeline of how long your injury will last, come in and see one of our Physiotherapists. Call us on 9783 9990 or book online.