A long-term injury is the blight of athletes the world over. It can cause undue amounts of pain and frustration, and if it lasts long enough, it will affect physical fitness and mental health. Some injuries are simple to diagnose while others remain a conundrum leading to months or years of searching for answers.
I spoke to Gina Pongetti Angeletti, a physical therapist who has worked on elite and amateur athletes and who is the co-owner and sports medicine program director at Achieve Orthopedic Rehabilitation Institute in Chicago. She told me that long-term injuries often occur because athletes wait to seek medical help until their injuries have progressed to “a more complicated treatment protocol, as well as after compensations have already taken place.” When this occurs, she says, the athlete has to address both the original injury as well as the new movement patterns he or she has adopted as a result. This makes recovery a longer, more complicated process.
That’s not the only thing athletes do wrong when they get hurt, though. Here are five other reasons that your long-term injury may be sticking around: