The Mental and Emotional Roller Coaster of an Injury: How to Overcome the Struggles as an Athlete

As a Doctor of Physical Therapy, I have witnessed firsthand the physical challenges athletes face when recovering from injuries. But far too often, the mental and emotional toll of an injury goes unnoticed or unaddressed. Here are 3 tips for your recovery process to help you cope and come out stronger on the other side. 

1. Talk About Your Frustrations:

One of the most important things you can do is to talk about your frustrations. Many athletes find a strong sense of identity through their sport, and being injured can make you question that. Bottling up these emotions can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and even depression. Find a trusted friend, family member, or therapist who can provide a listening ear and offer support during this challenging time. Remember, you don’t have to face it alone, and sharing your feelings can help bring some relief.

2. Be Patient with Yourself:

Recovering from an injury takes time, and it’s crucial to be patient with yourself throughout the process. It’s easy to get caught up in negative thoughts and feel frustrated when progress is slower than anticipated. Instead, shift your mindset and focus on small accomplishments along the way. Celebrate even the tiniest milestones, whether it’s regaining a range of motion, increasing your strength, or completing a challenging rehab exercise. By practicing self-compassion and acknowledging your progress, you will maintain a positive mindset and motivate yourself to keep moving forward.

3. Work with a Trusted Physical Therapist:

A key component of overcoming the mental and emotional challenges of an injury is working with a trusted Doctor of Physical Therapy. A PT not only helps with the physical recovery but can also guide and support you throughout the emotional journey. We understand the psychological impact an injury can have and will tailor your treatment plan to address your unique needs. A great PT will provide you with realistic expectations, set attainable goals, and offer valuable reassurance during setbacks. Establishing a strong rapport with your PT will create a safe space for you to express your emotions, fears, and concerns. Many of our clients have raved about how this has helped their rehab process here.

Injuries are not just physical setbacks; they can also take a toll on your mental well-being. By recognizing thesel challenges and taking proactive steps towards conquering them, you can support your overall recovery. Remember to talk about your frustrations, be patient with yourself, and work closely with a trusted physical therapist who understands the holistic nature of your healing journey.

Throughout my career, I have witnessed countless athletes bounce back stronger mentally and emotionally after facing injury-related hurdles. So, believe in your ability to overcome the mental and emotional struggles, and with the right actions, come out on the other side as a resilient, even more formidable athlete.

If you’re looking to work with a Doctor of Physical Therapy that not only helps you heal physically, but helps you through mental challenges like these, click here to book your free call so we can learn more about your situation.

By: Dr. Alex Langford PT, DPT, SFMA, TRS-C, TPI-1, PN1


January 31, 2024

Alex Langford

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