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3 Phases of Recovery

Complete all 3 Phases for a Full Recovery

When You Don't Give Yourself the Time for all 3 Phases You Won't get Better

Phase 1

Get Rid of Pain & Inflammation

Phase 2

Get Back Flexibility & Strength

Phase 3

Return to Your Normal Activities


You hurt your back. You take some Advil. You may even follow Shaquille O'Neal's Advice and buy an ICY HOT SmartRelief TENS device. Before you know it, the pain is gone. Then you go right back to normal activities.

Before you know it, the pain is back. That's because you didn't finish Phase 1 of recovery. You skipped Phase 2, and you went directly to Phase 3.


You go to an ankle doctor. You are given pain medications and put in an immobilizer for a month. Your pain goes away. You go right back to normal activity (Phase 3).

You never restore your full flexibility or strength.

Before you know it your ankle hurts worse than it did before you sprained it.


In recovery Phase 1, we stress reducing your pain and inflammation. Although inflammation is a normal part of healing, too much swelling and pain causes other problems. A lot of people with ankle sprains end up limping and causing a knee, hip, or back problem.

When we minimize you pain and inflammation, you limp less, and you are less likely to have other problems.

We might also work on your knee, hip, and back to make sure other issues don't slow your ankle recovery. Recovery follows an expected pattern.

  1. The average person comes to our office for 12 treatments.

  2. Treatments usually happen over 6-8 weeks.

  3. Recovery Phase 1 generally involves up to 6 treatments over 2-3 weeks.


You will likely end up with stiffness and weakness from most injuries. At this point in recovery, there is little or no pain or swelling. When you go back to normal activities without clearing up the stiffness and weakness, you end up hurt again.

The emphasis of recovery Phase 2 is restoring flexibility and strength. Without flexibility or strength you will re-injure yourself. That's a fact. Recovery Phase 2 usually takes 2-3 weeks and 4-6 visits.

We check your flexibility with joint range of motion and joint mobility checks. Stiffness happens when your muscles, tendons, or ligaments lose flexibility from resisting movement that causes pain.

Weakness happens after an injury because movement causes pain. When you don't move muscles they get weak. If you return to your normal activities without enough strength, you will overload the area and re-injure yourself.

Flexibility loss happens after an injury because movement causes pain. If you return to your normal activities before you have gained enough flexibility, you will overload the stiff tissues and get hurt again.


We include exercises as soon as we can in Recovery Phase 1 & 2 as soon as we can to prepare you for return to normal activity. Your recovery really isn't complete until you resume doing your normal activities.

In today's insurance environment things get tricky. It wasn't long ago you could be seen in the office for another 2-3 weeks to progress you through a gradual return to your normal activities. Now if things work out we can get you back in the office for a few visits to start you on functional exercises to get you back to your normal activities.

The key to full recovery is to return to PPTSM if you can't do your normal activities. If you develop pain, stiffness, or weakness, you haven't fully recovered.

Give us a call so we can found our where the problem is and get you back to normal.


Christopher DiPasquale, PhD, PT, OCS, SCS, CHT is a physical therapist at Performance Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine, with offices in Hebron and Colchester, Connecticut. He is board certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in Orthopedic Physical Therapy and Sports Physical Therapy and a Certified Hand Therapist by the Hand Therapy Certification Committee. Visit for more information. You can call the Hebron office at 860-228-4883 or send an email to You can call the Colchester office at 860-537-3014 or send an email to

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