Hi John –

I have been playing football for the past seven years, and I just want to say that your programming has put me in way better shape now than I
was when playing college ball. I played college football my first two years of college, and upon graduating last year, I had not played since.
I decided that I had so much love for the game – I trained crossfitfootball.com everyday for 7 months, and tried out for a semi-pro
team and made it.

I have never had a major injury related to football in my time of playing the game (save for a few sprained ankles, pulled muscles, etc),
but a few weeks ago I made a hit and dislocated my wrist. I had surgery on it and the doc put me in a cast, and I have been this way for the past 3 weeks. I want to rapidly rehabilitate that wrist so I can get back to my life of lifting and playing ball. After the cast comes off, I’m expected to go through physical therapy for a while. So I have two questions for you:

1. What types of training can I do to keep me in football playing shape while this wrist heals through physical (without injuring it again before
its fully good to go) – or what types of training would rehab that wrist back to normal again?

2. In your opinion – how long can I expect to be out until this thing is 100% again?

Thanks for your help,



Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs
*Paul, I shot your question over to Dr. Travis Conley for his opinion. Travis has been featured on TTMJ for his knowledge and advice with injuries. Since Doc T is pretty good at keeping me healthy, I thought he could offer some insight here. If you take a look at the picture above, I used one roll of white tape and about 5 foam pads on each hand and wrist. I casted my hands and wrists before everyday and practice. As the fingers took a beating, those got taped up as well. It is very hard to play offensive line, or football for that matter, with aching wrists and sore hands. My only advice is to make tape casts to protect your hands and wrist then use them as weapons. I learned this trick from a real veteran, Lonnie Palelei. We played together in Philadelphia and he taught more than a few tricks that helped in my tenure in the NFL.

Paul here are my thoughts per your questions –

1) Typically begin with range of motion and gripping.  This should be covered through PT.  After PT has done its thing- your workouts will want to be focused on gripping movements (deadlifts, strict pull ups) – with little velocity or torque on the wrist (specifically cleans or burpee).  After being in a cast you have to increase range of motion and gripping strength first and foremost.
** Note – this depends greatly on what was surgically “fixed” in your wrist. As there are quite a few ligaments that can be worked on. A lot will have to do with how you feel. I would use the push up (girl style) and maybe pressing as a good indication of progress. ALL ACTIVITIES – with lifting weights must be controlled and done with purpose and very conservative weights.  Think of it as a wrist that is being used for the first time.  Take your time. I realize you are moving into the professional arena with football – so if you have the time – go slow with wrist movement specific activities.  Recommend leaving full cleans (squat cleans) as one of the last things you do – as it loads the wrist without caution or regard.

2) Goes back to what was done, how diligent you are/were with rehab and the time it had to completely heal.  Typically, if it was a ligament that was treated – they take time to heal due to lack of blood flow to those areas.  And “back to normal” also – relative term- as John will tell you.  As an athlete -especially in the professional arena – “normal” is probably not so normal for day-to-day people.  Can you play? Probably with a wrist support (to protect future injuries) you should be fine. (Again – this depends on what was actually done) After football, there may or may not be things that will bother you. It sounds like a routine sprain/tear and something a “normal” non-athletic person would recoup from.

Advice:  Ask your Ortho (or PT – you can just call and leave the questions but do make sure you ask one of them) about pull-ups, pressing, squatting (as time moves on – should not load the wrist), deadlifts, dips. Again, you should be able to maintain strength through a neutral-unloaded wrist and slowly rehab it to full strength in full range of motion.

Hope this helps and for additional info you can find me at http://www.drtconley.com.

Dr. Travis Conley, D.C.,C.S.C.S.