When am I ready to return to sport?

How do you know you are ready to return to sport following a lower limb injury or surgery? It is one of the most important but difficult questions that we are asked by patients.  One way to answer this or at least give some objective guidance is by Hopping.

HOP, HOP and HOP again.  Might seem silly and ridiculous, but the simple hop is an excellent way to tell if your hip, knee, ankle or foot injury has recovered enough to get back to the sport or activity you love. These simple tests can easily be carried out at home without the need for heavy/ expensive equipment. All you require is some space (not best in front room) and a tape measure.

A hop is a simple way to test out your ability to generate force, land and absorb force, then rebound. This very simple action is required in almost all sport, apart from darts or snooker. 

The main principle is to test your uninjured or good side first, then repeat on the injured side. You want the injured/post surgical side to be at least 85-90% as good as the uninjured side i.e 2m hop on the good side then the injured side should be at least 170-180cm on single leg hop. If you are above that limit the chance of successful returning of support without re-injury is significantly higher.  

Before performing hop tests yourself, I would recommend that you have built up a good background of general strength, i.e. good single leg balance, squat, lunge and single leg squat. 

Single hop for distance    https://youtu.be/jos-AnG26Ug

This Is an excellent way to check for force generation and accurate confident landing

Triple hop for distance     https://youtu.be/cUm0mJOYDsI

This tests your ability to initial generate force, but also how well you land and rebound.

Triple Cross over hop        https://youtu.be/XP-VKSHsuXQ

Same as triple hop but with an element of lateral movement and direction change which makes it a very useful test.

Why not try these at home. You may not have had an injury or surgery. But these tests can sometimes identify a niggling or background weakness that you have ignored or swept under the carpet. 

If you feel you are not quite there and not sure about returning to play, then that’s where further advice and drills/exercises can be useful to build up strength and confidence further.

If you want further advice on exercises to improve any discrepancies you have found or you feel you’re not quite were you want to be please contact us at https://www.faypedlerclinic.co.uk/contact-us or Book online at https://online.tm2app.com/faypedlerphysio

Happy Hopping!