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HOW LONG IS THIS GOING TO TAKE TO HEAL?

   How long will this take to get better? This is a question asked daily by people who have injured themselves. It is a very reasonable question to ask but the answer is not always a simple one.  The body has an amazing ability to heal but as the Figure below shows the time it can take to recover can be quite variable. 

Recovery Timeline

Ligament Sprain
Grade 1 1 week – 4 weeks
Grade 2 2 weeks – 6 months
Grade 3 6 weeks – 1 year
Graft 2 months – 2 years
Tendon
Tendonitis 1 week  – 4 weeks
Tendonosis 2 weeks – 6 months
Rupture 6 weeks – 1 year
Muscle Strain
Grade 1 3 weeks – 2 months
Grade 2 2 months – 6 months
Grade 3 2 months – 1 year
Bone 6 Weeks – 1 year

There are a number of factors that influence tissue healing and recovery.

  1.  Type of tissue:  All tissues of the body go through similar ‘stages of healing’ but these ‘stages’ can take different amounts of time based on the physiology of the tissue.  For instance muscles and tendons which have better blood supply generally heal faster than ligaments and cartilage that have poorer blood supply. 
  2. Severity of Injury:  The severity of the injury will dictate the duration it takes to recover. Soft tissue injuries are often divided into Grades 1-3. Grade 1 refers to injuries where there has been minimal tissue damage or disruption, these types of injuries will heal relatively quickly. Grade 3 refers to injuries where the tissue has suffered significant tissue damage or disruption, these types of injuries will have a prolonged recovery.
  3.  Individual variables:  Every person is unique and their recovery timeline will be affected by individual factors. Age, general and mental health (diabetes, BMI, stress, anxiety), lifestyle (alcohol or smoking), nutrition, and sleeping patterns can all influence healing.  Daily aggravators such as work, sport and nighttime sleeping positions can all effect recovery timeline.
  4. Expectations:  “Recovered” can mean many different things to many different people.  Some people consider themselves recovered once their pain resolves and the can return to simple daily activities, while other people don’t consider themselves recovered until they return to their pre-injury status. If their preinjury activities included intense physical work or sport this will require a longer recovery process.

These are just some of the factors that have to be considered when trying to answer the question of ….how long will this take to heal?  

 With the help of a qualified physiotherapist, you will gain a better understanding of the specific factors that will influence your recovery. By addressing as many of these factors as possible you will have a better chance of shortening your recovery time.  Committing to the things you have control over as well as maintaining a positive attitude will enhance your body’s ability to heal and recover.

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