We live in a society of immediate gratification. Waiting a couple of extra seconds for an Internet page to load feels like an eternity. A culture of impatience over slow website loads or less than same day delivery. We’ve come to expect things so quickly that when faced with an injury patients become easily frustrated when they are not healing as fast as they think they should.
Soft tissue injuries, muscle or connective tissue injuries often develop over time. There may be an incident of trauma, an accident, pop or accompanying fracture, however many are caused by repetitive stress, pulling forces that ligaments must resist and overtime are extreme enough to damage softer blood vessels and nerves. Long before breaking under a strain, tissue often gets “sick”, overused. Once that happens, the tissue loses the ability to tolerate even minor stresses. If these structures do become injured, their limited blood and nerve supply results in a longer recovery and healing period.
An evidence-based study of ankle ligament healing after an acute ankle injury showed that it took at least 6 weeks to 3 months before ligament healing occurred. However, at 6 weeks to 1 year after injury, a large percentage of participants still had “objective mechanical laxity and subjective ankle instability”. Alterations in the biology and biomechanics of the injured body part not only effect it but effect those structures surrounding it so that healing the area depends on contributions from multiple body systems . Physical condition, underlying medical problems, poor muscle balance, inflexibility and lack of tissue strength influence the time it takes a body to heal. You have to almost completely stop challenging the tissue, or it will never have a chance to recover.
Rebuilding, remodeling and recovery from injury takes time. Accepting the time it takes and giving your body (including the proper nutrition) what it needs to protect, heal, repair, and recover isn’t easy to do if you are a determined athlete, career-driven professional, a relied on caregiver or parent. The art of healing depends on rest and mobility. Patients need to work with their healthcare provider to find a happy medium and the time needed to do so.