#1 - J. At practice, Friday night April 27th, one of the 6th Grade boys came in with an ankle injury, wasn't clear when he'd hurt himself, but clear that he couldn't run for warm ups and that bending his knee so that his ankle flexed forward hurt the most.
When I finished doing the warm up with the other boys, and they moved on to drills with Coach Q, I asked J to lie on his back and began to assess how he was 'growing' the zone of his injury. With his knees bent and feet standing, I began to support his injured side to roll out and in at the hip, turning his foot to follow his hip. Every time I moved his hip his pelvis came with it, pulling the other leg too, and his low back. Already, after a day or so, there was reduced ability to differentiate movement in each of the large leg joints. I brought this to his attention by placing one hand on his other hip and pelvis, to help clarify the way they were moving together, and how they might move separately.
Then I moved his foot in the opposite direction from the in and out of his hip on the injured side. Asking him to breathe in or out in time with the movement.
After pausing, I placed his injured foot on a basketball, and began to roll it forward and back, gently - guiding his heel bone in different directions. His eyes popped, as he burst out with, 'that doesn't hurt!'
After walking-jogging for a few minutes, he joined his team, and while initially limping, by the end of the practice, 45 minutes later, he was fully participating, and a week and a half later, has no residual pain or loss of mobility.
#2 - T. T carried a calf injury he had sustained while playing tennis, for almost 2 weeks. When I saw him, he was hobbling, and had missed several practices. His zone of injury had 'grown' to involve his knee on the injured calf side, both hips, his pelvis, ribs and head. I asked him to scan his contact with the table while he was lying on his back. His assessment correlated with my observation, and surprised him. He was lying asymmetrically on the table. After our session, I gave him some movements to practice, and suggested arnica and ice massage with a block of ice, at the junction of the calf muscle and achilles tendon. I told T. that he would still limp over the next few days while he adjusted to lengthening the calf muscle as he walked with more even weight side to side. He got up and walked with a limp that involved his whole self, but was most amazed by how far he could turn to look around himself in both directions (this is not unusual, FM improves how we organize ourselves for all movements). 2 days later, he participated fully at practice, though I reminded him several times to do a little less.
So, it varies depending on the severity and area of the injury. I do know that the healing can be facilitated.
1) If an injury is addressed immediately, the 'zone of injury' is kept to a minimum. II have observed that the healing is faster when the weight bearing forces are carried through the whole skeleton, when effort is not added to the musculature in adjacent areas and beyond.
2) Gradual return is always preferable.