Part 3: What to do at each stage of your recovery: The final phase

Whether you have rolled your ankle, broken a rib or torn a ligament, your body goes through the same painful and uncomfortable process to repair itself. 

We sat down with Nick Marshall from Surf Life Physio in Miami, QLD earlier this month to get a better understanding of the recovery journey. Nick has over 17 years' experience as a physiotherapist, having practised both privately for his own practice Surf Life Physio and as a senior outpatient physio for Tweed Heads Hospital.

This article continues our injury recovery series. Read the first and second article on the first two phases of injury recovery. 

Nick gives his insights on the final recovery stage, known as the remodelling phase, of an injury and provides tips on how best to manage this stage.

What is the remodeling phase?

The remodeling phase is when the less mature Collagen fibres become thicker and stronger.

Depending on the physio rehab, these fibres then align themselves in a position so they are ready to absorb load and stress.

The most important component of the remodeling phase is that it cannot begin until the inflammation phase has come to an end and the area damaged no longer has elevated inflammatory markers.

Builders

In the analogy we are using of the house fire, the remodeling phase are the builders, the people instructed with repairing and re-building the damaged areas, and making sure the quality of the materials and the way they are assembled and constructed will withstand future issues thrown at it.

But as we discussed, in the human body, the remodeling can’t begin with the inflammation present, and neither can a builder start to re-build a house with the area still cordoned off by police and firemen still hosing the flames on the house down (remember the first stage, known as inflammation, is like emergency services).

This is often what happens in the presence of chronic inflammation and so the builders never get to build because the emergency servicers never move out and so the healing fails. 

Like wise the builders can’t start to rebuild the house if the house is still on fire and have people injured inside. This is what quite often happens in the body when a person takes an anti-inflammatory pill (or an anti-emergency services pill) too early in the acute injury model. By denying the area of an inflammatory or emergency services period there’s no possible way to progress and so again the healing of damaged tissues fails

How long does this stage last for?

Like building a house the remodeling phase can be slow and take time. In fact in some injuries especially to tendons and ligaments it can take a year.

How would injury feel in this stage?

Generally, because this phase can’t start until the area is free of inflammation, this stage is pain free and the person will be almost back doing things without any discomfort. But that can be the danger. Because despite the absence of pain the structures haven’t been completely fixed and healed.

Do I need physio in this stage?

This is the most important period to get physio. It’s at this stage that you are adding exercises and stretches to the program to allow the structures to heal in the right way so to avoid re-injury and restore pre injury function.


Thanks Nick.

If you missed the last two blog posts, click the links below. They are worth the read.

Part 1: What to do at each stage of your recovery: The first 3 days
Whether you have rolled your ankle, broken a rib or torn a ligament, your body goes through the same painful[...]
Part 2: What to do at each stage of your recovery: The next 2 weeks
Whether you have rolled your ankle, broken a rib or torn a ligament, your body goes through the same painful[...]

This concludes our injury recovery article series. But be sure to stay tuned for more articles from Nick and the Surf Life Physio team. 

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding these tips, injury recovery or other health issues please do not hesitate to contact Nick and his team at Surf Life Physio on (07) 5527 7830 or click the button below.