The recovery from an injury or surgery is often far more complicated than we anticipate.

20+ years of experience has taught me a lot.  And most all of that experience will benefit you. Very few of you believe me when I tell you how long your recovery might be.  A few will concede those facts months down the road. Some of you opted to go to the young surgeon down the road who promised you the moon and the sky in just six weeks.  Now you’re back to see me to be sure that you’re ok, even though you’re still in recovery mode four months later.  Take a deep breath.


Recovery is hard; a simple surgery is a surgery on someone else.

There is no such thing as a simple surgery or a straightforward injury.  I have seen horrible complications follow routine operations and “simple” ankle sprains.

Each injury or insult to our body will create significant physical and emotional issues that need to be addressed. Different people will respond to varying injuries in different ways.

I’ve seen some of you recover from horrible injuries very rapidly, and I’ve seen some of you remain significantly affected years later.

The emotional burden of an injury or recovery cannot be overlooked.  For many, this will be a more considerable obstacle when it comes to moving on and getting back to sports or just living.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to recovering from injury.  Just go with the process.  Emphasize the positive.  Recovery is often a slow, tedious process.  Don’t let your doctor or physical therapist tell you that you’re behind and need to push harder.  Words hurt.  Words can harm more so than scalpels.

Progress is progress; this isn’t a race.  When you feel confident to move forward, you should.  If you’re not ready to take the next step, then try it again next week or next month.  Trust the process… and understand that the process will be unique to you and your experience.  Do the work … Focus on the future, and trust that for many of you, feeling normal again is possible. It just might take time to get there.

Chin up!

Disclaimer:  this information is for your education and should not be considered medical advice regarding diagnosis or treatment recommendations. Some links on this page may be affiliate links. Read the full disclaimer.

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About the author:

Howard J. Luks, MD

Howard J. Luks, MD

A Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon in Hawthorne, NY. Dr. Howard Luks specializes in the treatment of the shoulder, knee, elbow, and ankle. He has a very "social" patient centric approach and believes that the more you understand about your issue, the more informed your decisions will be. Ultimately your treatments and his recommendations will be based on proper communications, proper understanding, and shared decision-making principles – all geared to improve your quality of life.

2 comments on “Recovering From An Injury … It’s More Complicated Than You Think

  • Good morning Dr Luks,

    I just wanted to thank you for your article. I had my AC Joint operation 2weeks ago. I am due to see the physio today and am very nervous about moving my shoulder too much too soon or equally not soon enough. Your article really spoke to me about how surgery can make you feel mentally as well as physically. I own my own business as a website designer, we have 2 young boys aged 6 & 7, prior to the accident I was very active, cycling, running, paddle boarding. It’s a shock to loose the ability to be active and be “YOU” My accident was a year ago and I’ve just had my operation. I now feel a pressure to be fit and well within 6 weeks and “back to normal” but your article has helped me to be more realistic, and help me to understand that I can’t put myself or my body under that pressure.

    I will go into my physio appt with a new propective today and be kinder and more patient to myself physically and mentally regarding my recovery.

    Thank you


    • I’m really glad that it helped out Mel…. The recovery following an AC joint reconstruction will take many months. Just give it the time it needs, trust the process and this will be behind you in no time.

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