I'm super-motivated to get better. I take the healing process super-serious; I take a ton of vitamins, eat really healthy and try do everything I can to skate sooner. It's all positive stuff. I'm taking the steps to heal properly.
– Torey Pudwill
Skateboarders are arguably the worst breed of humans when it comes to rehabbing injuries. It’s pretty much unheard of for us to seek medical attention unless our genitals are split open or half our face is hanging off, and if the injury hasn’t reached this level of severity, the rehab process often involves nothing more than a small amount of rest and an extra night of drinking. Our rehab methods seem to be based on the idea that there are just 2 modes for all parts of the body: okay and injured, and if you leave it to do its thing, it will eventually be okay.
Along with many injuries comes a loss of range of motion, strength, balance, muscle control and timing, etc., things that have a big effect on your skating. If you take the chill approach to rehab or you return to skating before your injury has properly recovered, not only will you get back to skating weak and stiff with less balance and control, but the lack of use can end up weakening other areas around the injured spot, increasing the chance of further damage and extending the time it takes for you to feel good on your board again.
Along with the need to restore the physical damage injuries place on the body, the mental realm is also important. When you’re injured it’s easy to end up depressed and start hating your friends and family, and even your own face, but keeping it positive, although a cliché, can actually enhance your recovery process. It was found that stress and negative traits like lack of sleep, poor diet, smoking cigarettes and mongo pushing actually slowed down recovery, whereas positive traits and emotions sped it up. Those damn hippies were right after all!
As every injury is different and there are usually so many aspects to consider, visiting someone who knows what they’re talking about – like a sports medicine doctor or physiotherapist – and exploiting their knowledge should always be your first option, and if they specialise in skateboarding, even better. They’ll get you back on your board as fast as possible and in the best condition possible. They’ll also tell you how to restore everything we’ve spoken of above – range of motion, strength, balance, control, – and when your body’s ready to start doing so. The order that you start retraining these different aspects, when, and the intensity that you do so, are things you really need a professional to guide you through. Listen to your body and what the doc says and you’ll be back in your board in no time. If you live in California, a great option is Dr Kyle Brown (@dr.kylebrown) – a rare breed of half doctor, half skater – who specialises in rehabbing skateboarders, including a lot of the pros out there. If you live elsewhere you can also get a Google on for sports medicine practitioners in your local area.
The Daily Push is also currently working with some of the world’s best skateboarding healthcare professionals, including Kyle and others such as Jeroen Stam (@skateboardphysio) to create a database of guidelines and exercises for rehabbing common skateboarding injuries.