Before we get started, I want to remind you that if you feel any pain, immediately stop what you are doing. Minor injuries can be gently stretched immediately after the time of injury, however a serious injury must be rested for at least 72 hours before any stretching can be done. Please consult your doctor if you suspect a serious injury, as it could get worse if not medically treated.
Now that we have that out of the way, today we are going to talk about restoring flexibility after an injury. When you get injured, the tissues that have received damage can tighten as they heal, causing a decrease in flexibility. Once the swelling has subsided and you no longer feel pain when walking, lightly stretching, or moving, it is usually safe to start some static stretching for the next 10-14 days.
Static stretching is when you can relax the stretched muscles while slowly moving in a position that stretches them further. You want to do this cautiously while still trying to relax all your muscles. Hold your stretch for about 30 seconds to lengthen the muscles. Don't push too hard, take your time.
The next step will take place for the next 2-5 weeks. This step includes stretching, strengthening, increasing muscular endurance, and increasing ROM. The kind of stretching you are going to do at this time is called PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) stretching.
PNF stretching is when you both stretch and contract the injured/targeted muscle group. It increases both flexibility and muscular strength. You will also have to perform dynamic (soft swinging motions during stretch) and active (contraction of opposing muscles and relaxing of stretched muscles) stretches long-term to make sure that your flexibility is continually increased and held.
I hope this has helped you if you have been looking for ways to increase your flexibility after an injury. If you would like to read more, I will have a website linked below for you. This is a very important and complicated subject (I have only scratched the surface) so please let me know if you have any questions.
Until next time,
Sources: Stretch Coach