How much weight you can expect to gain with a sports injury will depend on the severity of the injury and length of recovery, as well as the type of actions you take to prevent weight gain. Measures you put in place to restrict calories, maintain your conditioning by changing your exercise method and a positive outlook can help to limit excess weight that may occur during your period recovery.
Certain factors such as pain level, swelling of the injured area and lack of physical activity can lead to weight gain when you are recovering from a sports injury. The type of injury you sustained can also have a bearing on how much weight you are likely to gain. Careful attention to nutrition, physical activity and careful return to normal activities can help to limit weight gain during recovery.
What’s a Sports Injury?
A sports injury is an injury that occurs during a sports activity or exercise regime. The term is not limited to athletes. Anyone can experience an injury from an athletic incident. An injury can result from a fall, impact with another player, from twisting actions or from overuse. A sports injury can be acute or chronic. An acute injury happens suddenly, causing pain, swelling and immobility. A chronic sports injury is one that continues to cause symptoms for some time after the initial event.
Weight Gain with Injury
Many individuals who have experienced a sports injury find they gain weight during the healing period. This results from lack of activity, water weight from swelling in the injury or bad eating habits while recovering.
Causes of Weight Gain with Injury
Eating high-calorie, high-fat foods during the recovery period can put individuals at risk for weight gain. The enforced rest needed to heal an injury may lead to excessive snacking of foods that please the palate but have poor nutritional value. Individuals should monitor themselves closely to avoid eating out of boredom during their enforced rest after an injury.
Reduced Physical Activity
Recovery from a physical injury generally involves a period of rest of varying lengths, depending on the type of injury. Injured individuals are not able to engage in their usual exercise or training regimen, and this can result in weight gain over the recovery period.
Increased Stress and Anxiety
Emotional aspects of injury and enforced rest can also be factors in weight gain during recovery. Individuals may worry about how well the injury will heal, if they will be able to resume their usual activities and being unable to participate in their regular training and participation in the sport. These factors can cause emotional eating that can lead to adding excess pounds.
Types of Sports Injuries That May Cause Weight Gain
Individuals can experience a musculoskeletal injury anywhere in the body. The injuries may include such common problems as golfer’s elbow, runner’s knee, tennis elbow, groin pulls, ankle sprains, Achilles tendon pain and fractures of the bone, either serious or very minor, such as stress fractures Muscle injuries such as hamstring pulls, tendonitis, bursitis, rotator cuff injury and frozen shoulder can also occur. Back injuries involving muscles, ligaments and disc can cause pain and poor function. Vigorous activities can lead to dislocation of the shoulder, kneecap or ankle. Injuries can occur to any muscle in the body and often involve joint dysfunction and pain.
Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries
Some studies, such as the one at the National Library of Medicine, indicate that individuals who have experienced a traumatic brain injury are at increased risk for weight gain. Factors that contribute to this result include impaired mobility that may occur after a brain injury, endocrine system dysfunction, sensory loss and behavioral issues after traumatic brain injury.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries include muscle strains and sprains, cuts and bruising. It can also include inflammation of the tendons and ligaments. These injuries can lead to considerable downtime for healing, which can often put individuals at risk for weight gain as they recover.
Prevention and Management Strategies
When you have experienced a sports injury, it’s a good idea to create a strategy for managing the recovery period, to maintain your condition while preventing further injury to the area.
Proper Nutrition for Injury Recovery
According to the Sanford Health site, proper nutrition is critical not only for maintaining weight after an injury, but also for good healing of the injury. Protein is needed to prevent muscle deterioration during enforced rest in the recovery period. Carbohydrates are needed for energy to get around on crutches, physical therapy and other measures that may be needed during healing. Consuming healthy fats are critical to good healing and should be a part of your diet during the recovery period. Vitamins A and C are important for cell regeneration and wound healing. Vitamin D is critical for immune system function and preventing infection. Zinc is an important mineral for wound healing and immune system function. Emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables can help to ensure good nutrition during recovery, as well as for avoiding weight gain.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do athletes gain weight when injured?
Like everyone else, athletes can gain weight after an injury. However, because athletes are often very mindful of their diet, activity level and mental attitude, they are more likely to take measures to avoid weight gain. Lack of activity, boredom and depression can cause athletes to consume more calories and increase their weight.
Is it normal to gain weight when injured?
Unfortunately, gaining weight is a common result after an injury, due to enforced rest needed for proper healing, lack of exercise, frequent snacking and emotional factors. Stringent measures to restrict calories can help to prevent weight gain. However, this should not be done at the expense of providing the right nutrients that can aid healing of injuries.
Will I gain weight with a broken foot
You may not necessarily gain weight after a broken foot injury. Individuals may be required to use crutches or other assistive devices to get around, and using these devices often takes more energy than simple walking. Whether you will gain weight depends on how much your use these devices to get around in your daily life and what kind of foods you eat as you go through the healing period.
Can a pulled muscle cause weight gain?
Yes, a pulled muscle can cause weight gain. Increased weight often results from having to rest to heal the injury, as well as bad eating habits. Boredom, depression and concerns about getting back to full mobility are often factors in
Does swelling add body weight?
Yes, swelling of an injured area of the body can add additional weight. Swelling is part of the body’s natural mechanism to protect itself against further injury and infection. Fluids rush to the injured area along with blood components produced by the immune system. Generally, swelling will dissipate as the inflammation subsides and the area begins to heal.
Does swelling make you weigh heavier?
Yes, an injury can cause significant swelling of tissues that can translate to increased weight. The human body responds to an injury by sending fluid and white blood cells to an area to protect it. Swelling and the fluids associated with it can cause significant fluctuations in weight in the recovery period. However, with proper treatment, swelling will eventually subside, and water weight gain will dissipate over time.
Why am I gaining weight as an athlete?
You may notice weight gain when you condition your body for a sport or start an exercise regime for a number of reasons. Workouts improve muscle mass, and muscle is more dense than fat. As you increase your muscle mass, you may weight more, even though your body becomes more fit. Muscle inflammation caused by workouts can also increase weight, at least temporarily at the beginning of your training sessions. If you eat foods that are high in sodium, you may retain water in your tissues that causes weight gain High-calorie supplement drinks can add pounds, as well.
Should athletes eat less when injured?
Yes, athletes should eat less, because they generally eat a certain amount of calories to maintain muscle mass and energy to perform well in their sport. However, when they have an injury, they must avoid using the injured area and expend fewer calories. Continuing their usual diet will inevitably lead to weight gain. Eating more low-calorie, low-fat foods and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables can help to prevent weight gain.
What happens when an athlete gets injured>
When an athlete gets injured, they may experience immediate pain and disability that causes them to be removed from play. Generally, athletes know the procedures they must take to care for a minor injury, such as the R.I.C.E method of “rest, icing, compression and elevation” that can help to begin the process of healing. For more extensive injuries, a physician will provide needed medical care, which may include medication, injections to reduce swelling, bracing, applying a cast or surgery, as needed. The doctor will provide necessary instructions for recovery from the injury as quickly as possible, so the athlete can resume their normal activities.
How does injury affect athletic performance?
Depending on the type of sport and the severity of an injury, an athlete may be completely unable to perform their sport at all or may be limited in how much they can perform. Even after an injury has healed, athletes may have to follow a careful regimen of gradual retraining in over to avoid re-injuring the area.
Can physical pain cause weight gain?
Yes, physical pain can lead to weight gain. According to the BioMed Central website, pain can cause depression, which leads to unhealthy behaviors such as overeating and inactivity. In addition, chemical changes within the body and inflammation may influence weight.
Does your body use more calories when healing an injury?
When you sustain an injury, the body’s processes accelerate, to provide protection against infection and against further injury of the area. Revving up this protective system requires more energy, and more calories are burned. It’s important to consume the right type of foods during the healing process to avoid converting the calories into fat instead of muscle. Enforced rest is often part of treatment, which means your muscles may use less energy, and the calories are turned into fat. To avoid weight gain during recovery, concentrate on low-fat, low-sugar foods that have high nutritional value that can be used for healing.
Should I eat less when injured?
If you are active in sports or have a rigorous exercise routine, you may be accustomed to a diet that supports your body for these activities. After an injury, your physician is likely to recommend a significant amount of rest to allow body tissues to heal. As a result, your usual diet would naturally be stored as fat and not muscle. Eating less will help to avoid adding more weight, but more importantly, you should choose foods that support healing and not activity, to avoid weight gain and speed recovery.
How do you prevent weight gain when injured?
The best ways to prevent weight gain when injured is to eat low-fat, low-calorie foods, change to a different exercise routine and work to keep a positive mental attitude.
Is my ankle broken if I can put weight on it?
According to the Healthline site, a broken ankle can cause similar symptoms to a sprained ankle. However, a fracture of the bone may also cause a visible deformity in the ankle and an inability to bear weight on the foot. If you continue to put weight on a broken ankle, you can cause additional damage to the bone and soft tissues.
Can you put full weight on a broken ankle?
No, you should not put your full weight on a broken ankle. Doing so could damage the broken bone even further. Generally, patients with a broken ankle are given crutches to avoid putting weight on the injury, or must shift weight to the other foot with various types of assistive devices. Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding how long to avoid putting weight on the injury.